The Three Questions
Author and Illustrator: Jon J Muth
BUY – The Three Questions
A thoughtful story about making choices and where they lead.
The Three Questions encourages living in the moment and acting with compassion.
When is the best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?
The answers change to match the situation like a puzzle.
When Nikolai asks his friends, Sonja the crane, Gogol the monkey and Pushkin the dog, they all answer based on their own experiences and natures.
Pushkin thinks the most important one is the one who makes the rules. He relies on his pack working as a team to know when the best time to do things is. The right thing to do for him is barking, that feels right!
Confused the boy visits another friend the wise turtle Leo, who with zen-like calm only smiles in answer to the three questions. He allows Nikolai the opportunity to engage himself in what is going on and so learn for himself the answers.
When Nikolai arrives Leo is digging his garden, which is hard for an old turtle with a big spade!
The child offers his help and in doing so stays longer than planned. A sudden storm arrives and as they go to Leo’s house for shelter, Nikolai hears a cry for help.
A panda has been injured by a falling tree. The boy rescues her and later when she awakes to find her child is still missing, ventures into the stormy night alone to find and safely rescue the baby.
Adults may smile at the combination of the Asian style mountain retreat, complete with a big soft looking bed. The blend of traditional and fictitious storyline elements, craft an accessible and emotive tale for kids to muse on.
Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy many elements of this tale can be read into more deeply. I prefer to keep it simple and look at the overarching wisdom that is being put forward.
The watercolour paintings are gorgeous and embody the richness of the changing moods and the beauty of nature.
There is warmth and recognition of his good deeds from Leo, in a simple and undramatized manner. There are no lollies or awards, no shouts of hooray.
It is refreshing to see a story which shows the reward in the personal learning and growth of the child. Nikolai is taught to analyse each situation to see the answers to the three questions.
Leo kindly explains:
If he had not stayed to help Leo then he would not have heard the panda’s cry for help in the storm.
The most important time was spend digging the garden.
The most important one was at the time was Leo.
The most important thing to do was help with the garden.
Later the most important time was mending the panda’s leg and saving the baby.
The most important ones were the Panda and her child.
The most important thing to do was to care for them and make them safe.
The one important time is now.
The most important one is the one you are with now.
The most important thing to do is to do good for the one standing with you now.
Giving the now the most attention by being present and active in the now is the most important answer, it is why we are here.
Stay present in your journey young readers!BUY – The Three Questions