Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Jon J. Muth
Publisher: Scholastic Inc
Leo and Molly love their new neighborhood, and especially their neighbor, a panda named Stillwater. Stillwater gives their cat, Moss, a ride in his bike, dances ballet with Molly, tells stories to the children to teach them about hard work and patience, and demonstrates the importance of not being selfish, especially if there is something that he wants. Through the lessons that Stillwater teaches them in their daily activities, Leo and Molly learn about being good people and that making a difference to just one thing or one person is enough.
The stories in Zen Socks are based on traditional stories, such as “The Taste of Banzo’s Sword” and “The Star Thrower” to help emphasize that kindness, generosity, and compassion works. The stories teach nice lessons, but it does come across as being preachy and pedantic at times. The most impressive part of the book is the stunningly beautiful watercolor illustrations of the panda and the children. Readers of all ages will be able to enjoy this beautiful and thoughtful book.