Jon J Muth's interest in eastern philosophy is evident in the tales he tells as well as in his style of illustration. Luminous watercolors are used to illustrate stories that have Asian roots and those with origins in western cultures. Though seemingly simple, tales and image combine to present often sophisticated examinations of ideas that resonate with readers of all ages.
Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons
A series of 26 poems, all haiku, mark each of the four seasons starting with autumn while highlighting the letters of the alphabet. Each short poem is accompanied by Koo, the young panda, who is joined by two children and illustrated in handsome, spare watercolors.
Mama Lion Wins the Race
The race is on and Mama Lion and young Tigey are off! The Italian countryside provides the backdrop for this charming tale of friendship and monkey hijinks. Translucent watercolors illustrate the race with spiffy cars driven by toys come to life are worth reexamining.
A traditional tale has set in China as three Zen monks come to a remote village where residents are wary of strangers. The villagers gradually add ingredients to the initial soup the monks begin from a stone, building a community feast. Radiant illustrations successfully recast the tale.
A short story by Tolstoy has been retold with new characters in a picture book format yet retains its original Russian flavor. A boy named Nicolai asks urbane questions and finds the answers himself when he helps others. Evocative illustrations chronicle the story and its action.
Stillwater, a large panda, tells each child a story that illustrates a principle of Zen. Although the tales will captivate children, adults may recognize the philosophy imbedded in them. Delicate, handsome illustrations capture the mood and flow of the stories.
Stillwater the panda is back, this time with his haiku speaking nephew, to help Michael overcome his fear of the spelling contest and make a new friend — in spite of a fearful outward appearance. Stunning illustrations make this Zen-filled tale accessible to many readers.
Books illustrated by Jon J Muth
Batman’s Dark Secret
How Bruce Wayne became Batman is told in a picture book (not comic book). Muth’s well-crafted watercolor illustrations are dramatic accompanied by a brief telling of how young Bruce overcomes his fears of the dark by falling into a bat cave.
City Dog, Country Frog
On his first day in the country, City Dog not only runs off-leash but befriends a frog. Dog and frog play through summer and remember their fun in autumn, but frog leaves in winter. Life's cyclical nature is shown in dramatic watercolors and frank text for a moving tale.
Come on, Rain
Tessie, the child narrator, is the first to see the long-awaited rain clouds form. She and her neighbors celebrate the long awaited relief from the summer hear and dry spell in poetic language and loose but lively, luminous watercolor illustrations.
Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year
Selfish acts are little imps that can grow into bigger imps if one allows them to according to this Hasidic folktale. A baker must deal with his monsters as the Jewish New Year begins. Translucent illustrations depict the humor and horror as Gershon atones for his misdeeds.
I Will Hold You 'Till You Sleep
Parents share love with their children in many, often quiet ways which children then share with their own offspring. Soft illustrations complement the lyrical text as a parent describes love which the child shares as an adult with his own children.
No Dogs Allowed
A large, extended Latino family leaves their hot city neighborhood for an outing in the "Enchanted State Park." The park allows everything except dogs, however, so each family member takes a turn sitting with him on the parking lot. Lively illustrations show the days' goings on.
Old Turtle and the Broken Truth
This sophisticated allegorical story will be most appreciated by experienced readers as a wise old turtle and a young girl recognize the truth found in something that falls from the stars. Rich illustrations show the handsome landscape into which the truth falls.
Spare language and minimal wash illustrations evoke a powerful tale of longing. From a stonecutter to the sun and finally to stone, what is lasting is recognized in this deceptively simple but sophisticated allegory.
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