Muth has written one of the gentlest and most poignant masterpieces for children and adults alike with The Three Questions. I’ve read this book with every class I’ve ever taught and it’s always a favorite of young children and even high school students. I’ve also shared this story with a few meditation groups that I instructed at the Montana State Prison and it’s generated some deeply contemplative discussions. As a side note, it makes a good gift for a graduate if Oh, the Places you’ll Go! is sold out.
This book is adapted from a short story by Leo Tolstoy (yes, Tolstoy short stories) and has been softened for a younger crowd without losing the original message. The book follows Nikolai, a young boy who is having trouble finding answers to his three questions: What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? The stories richness is supported with Muth’s beautiful watercolor paintings on every page.
Spoiler Alert: All of Jon J. Muth’s books are on my Children’s Book Criterion Collection and they are all soft, unique and worthy of adding to your personal or classroom library. You can look for them in subsequent posts and pick them up on the link.