Tag Archives: Jon J. Muth

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

Hi, Koo!What is it about panda bears that makes them soooo utterly irresistible? Click here to see if you could possibly be immune to those “chubbly-wubbly.” Curmudgeon that I usually am, even I succumbed to “beary love.”

Jon Muth personally knows their inevitably undeniable appeal: his giant panda, Stillwater, and his nephew, Koo, have helped make Muth a mega-bestselling, multi-award winning author/illustrator many times over with Zen Shorts, Zen Ties, and Zen Ghosts, as well dozens of other titles to Muth’s name.

His latest – hitting shelves today – is an ingenious celebration of young Koo’s multifaceted talents: Koo is a prolific poet who can embed all 26 letters of the alphabet (watch for the capitalizations) as he shares his appreciation of the unique sights of the changing seasons in 26 haiku. The wordplay is especially clever and entertaining: a charming challenge for older kiddies, a lyrical delight for the youngest.

Koo opens with autumn, anticipating a change in wardrobe, leaves, and warmth. He’s joined by two friends as they chase melting icicles and a vanishing cat. Crocuses announce the coming of spring, when too much indoor TV time finally turns to outdoor adventures. Birds make nests, and Koo mourns the accidental death of a bug (oh, be still my heart!). Summer arrives with violet petals and butterfly kisses, and Koo takes a moment of quiet, sharing the splendor with two avian companions lovingly perched … on his head, of course!

Spring is in the air (finally!), the perfect reason to share this whimsy and glee: say ‘hi, Koo’ with his heartfelt haiku.

Readers: Children

Published: 2014

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Nonethnic-specific

America the Beautiful: Together We Stand by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Diane Goode, Mary GrandPré, John Hendrix, Yuyi Morales, Jon J. Muth, LeUyen Pham, Sonia Lynn Sadler, and Chris Soentpiet

America the BeautifulReady to ring in the new year? Sing with me now – I’m pretty sure you know the words to this one: “O beautiful for spacious skies …” Yes, the patriotic classic gets a brand new kiddie book … with phenomenal illustrations created by a long list of award-winning artists who each command a line of the 1893 poem by pioneering poet/professor Katharine Lee Bates.

Every illustrated-stanza-double-paged-spread also includes a pithy presidential quote, from George Washington to Barack Obama. No worries – the choices are most definitely non-partisan: Jimmy Carter, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, FDR and his (fifth) cousin Teddy Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush, all get a say. And, just in case you’re feeling like you’re missing a favorite president, the whole book cover cleverly opens up on the other side to showcase all 44 POTUSes!

The awe-inspiring result might represent a rather different U.S. of A. than perhaps our forefathers envisioned centuries ago, but America the Beautiful is nothing less than stupendous. Take that cover, for instance: the always-delight-inducing LeUyen Pham‘s vision for ” … with brotherhood …” couldn’t be more inclusive, not to mention accurate for what 21st-century America looks like. And, call me crazy (many have), but I like to think that’s young Sasha Obama reaching for the stars! Go, girl, go!

To quote our favorite peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter: “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” The perfect words to start a thus-far perfect, brand new year. Here’s to a happy, merry, healthy 2013 to all indeed!

Tidbit: Can I just say that certain folks in the publishing world had major faith in Obama’s re-election??!! The book (which pubs today) arrived in my mailbox quite a bit before November 6, 2012. The bottom right picture on the POTUS  grid of the inside-side-of-the-cover – specifically the spot for the current president – just happens to be none other than Barack Obama … leaving no room whatsoever for anyone but. I’m just saying …

Readers: Children

Published: 2013

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Nonfiction, .Poetry, Nonethnic-specific

Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth

zen-tiesI confess: I’m a Muth addict, even though technically my kids are too old for his picture books. But really, his books are ageless and we can all learn some major life lessons from them. Zen Ties is Muth’s enthralling follow-up to his Caldecott Honor Book, Zen Shorts: It’s both an artistic stunner and a literary gem.

Giant panda Stillwater and his adorable visiting nephew Koo, who speaks only in haiku (get it?), guide siblings Karl, Addy, and Michael to befriend their elderly neighbor, Miss Whitaker.

Review: “In Celebration of Asian Pacific American Month: A Survey of New & Notable Books,” The Bloomsbury Review, May/June 2008

Readers: Children

Published: 2008

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Nonethnic-specific

I Will Hold You ‘Til You Sleep by Linda Zuckerman, illustrated by Jon J. Muth

i-will-hold-youAnother bittersweet weep-fest of watching a child grow up, much along the lines of Robert Munsch’s timeless I Love You Forever. A parent’s everlasting love, stunningly rendered by last year’s Caldecott-winning Jon Muth.

Review: “TBR‘s Contributing Editors’ Favorite Reads of 2006: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things … in Print, That Is …,” The Bloomsbury Review, November/December 2006

Readers: Children

Published: 2006

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Nonethnic-specific