The Three Questions

The Three Questions

Hardcover(Revised 2005 ed.)

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A perfect gift for graduation--or any occasion--by a Caldecott Honor Book Artist!

"Quietly life changing..."
--The New York Times

Young Nikolai is searching for the answers to his three questions:
When is the best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?
But it is his own response to a stranger's cry for help that leads him directly to the answers he is looking for.
This profound and inspiring book is about compassion and being engaged in each moment.
With his stunning watercolors -- and text that resounds with universal truths, Jon J Muth has transformed a story by Leo Tolstoy into a timeless fable for readers of every age!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439199964
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2002
Edition description: Revised 2005 ed.
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 35,355
Product dimensions: 12.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.34(d)
Lexile: AD410L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Jon J Muth’s enchanting picture books include his Caldecott Honor Book Zen Shorts and four companion books featuring Stillwater, Koo, and their wonderful young friends. His book The Three Questions, based on a short story by Tolstoy, was called “quietly life-changing” by The New York Times Book Review. And The Horn Book called Jon’s Stone Soup “delicious and satisfying.” His exquisitely beautiful books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and are cherished by readers of all ages. Jon lives in New York State with his wife and their four children.

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The Three Questions 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
modestindecisiv More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love children's books that have a nice moral message. The story, originally written by Leo Tolstoy is a about a boy who wants to know three important questions. In the end, a wise turtle answers the questions the boy wanted to know. This is beautifully written and the illustrations are beautiful as well. I first seen this book in paperback at a children's library and I enjoyed it so much I had to buy it in hardcover. This would be perfect for children who love to read but I think it is best told when reading it to a child and then discuss it afterward. It is not too long and I think it is perfect for people of all ages, young and old. I enjoy reading the book to my younger nieces and nephews. It's a subtle moral story about life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author Jon J Muth certainly understands the uncertainties that children face. His main character, Nikolai, asks his three best friends the questions he thinks are most important. If he only knew their answers, he believes, he will be a good person. Recognizing his friends' limitations, however, Nikolai wisely seeks further for his answers, and visits a wise old turtle. The turtle never answers him directly, but when a storm comes up and two panda bears are in danger, Nikolai dashes to their aid without a thought for himself. In his action, he finds answers. This is a gentle tale, told well. Muth's illustrations are graceful and elegant, and beautifully enhance the many moods of the story. Based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, who is probably best-known for War and Peace and Anna Karenina, The Three Questions succeeds in getting children to think of being of service to others. And to realize that, contrary to what advertisers would have us believe, life isn't about getting; it's about doing. Those who enjoy this book might also enjoy another picture book Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee - A Bee's Bit of Wisdom. It concerns a young girl who is uncertain of her abilities. When faced with a challenge, she learns an important life lesson. Books like Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee and The Three Questions are valuable tools in teaching children the importance of developing a strong character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love books that carry a powerful message in a simple way. This book is really for any age, child or adult. I choked up when I first read it to my daughter.
ambagwell1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It could be used in an elementary classroom during a lesson on friendship, morals, and helping others. I especially like the ending ove the book, "There is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side (Muth.)"
mrolibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful picture book for older students. While it is a beautiful picture book for all viewers, its true audience should be older readers. In it, Nikolai is a young boy who asks his animal friends for help with his "big" questions. Each brings a different perspective to the questions, but Nikolai is unsatisfied with their answers. Things change when he visits Leo the Turtle, where circumstances and a crisis help Nikolai to find the answers he seeks. This is an important book.
lpeters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book, with a deep meaning that may be hard to grasp. I would use for older grades!
ktextor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very heartfelt and warm book for any age to read. It tells the story of a boy who has three important questions that he wants answered. The firs is when is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? and lastly, What is the right thing to do? The boy gets opinions from his friends; dog, monkey and crane. They all give him different views so he decides to go to the wisest he knows, the turtle. When he gets to the turtle he doesn't answer his question right away. A storm then comes and the boy ends up saving a panda and her cub. Throughout the book however the boy finds out the answer to all his questions. This is a great book to use for all ages with the connections that children can make with it on all levels. Great book :)
Hartleyca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful watercolors by Jon Muth, A thoughtful story with a boy wondering how to deal with what is the best time to do things, who to help, and who is most important. Based on stories from Tolstoy.
kmacneill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a child's retelling of Leo Tolstoy's Three Questions. Its about a boy, Nikolai, who is wondering the three questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? He asks his three friends who are a heron, a monkey and a dog all who have human characteristics. The answers they give him are unsatisfying and he goes to see a wise turtle. While there he helps save a panda and her baby. The next day he is still unsatisfied and doesn't have his answers. The turtle tells him that he does and goes on to explain that the important time is now, the important one is the one you are with and the most important thing is to do good for the one you is standing next to you. This book is very deep and I would probably use it in older grades. It expresses living in the moment and having compassion. The illustration is very peaceful and the boy is always carrying a red kite. I'm not sure what the kite symbolizes...maybe his three questions. In the author's note he explains Tolstoy's original Three Questions and how Muth, the author, modeled his characters. This book may not be appropriate in church schools because it has many zen-like qualities. I think this book would be very interesting to have students discuss.
quicksilvertears on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been thinking about this book long after I read it. I enjoyed the peaceful pictures that fit the contemplative questions. I am not sure of why the image of the boy's red kite is so engrained in my head but it is. I will have to think about that more later. I am so impressed with the boy's helpful nature. He does not stop to ponder or wait for someone to ask for help, he just leaps into action. This is a book that all children could use as an example of kindness.
Irishdart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young boy, Nikolai, is looking for answers to three important questions: ¿When is the best time to do things?¿, ¿Who is the most important one?¿ and ¿What is the right thing to do?¿ After asking his animal friends, he is not satisfied with their answers and goes to ask a wise old turtle. Before the turtle can answer, Nikolai finds himself digging a garden for him and rescuing a panda and her baby from a storm. It isn¿t until Leo, the turtle, uses those experiences to answer his questions, that Nikolai understands that the answers are really what is most important in life.This deceptively simple story based on Leo Tolsoy¿s ¿The Three Questions,¿ is a wonderful addition to any library. The artwork is soft and beautiful and does as much to tell the story as the text. The reader notices before Gogol, the monkey, the coconut about to fall on his head thanks to the skill of Jon Muth as an illustrator. The knowing smile on Leo¿s turtle face tells us that Nikolai has learned something very important even though he may not yet realize it. I can envision several uses for this book with older readers. It would be valuable as a writing prompt to encourage students to answer the three questions or as a means to take a difficult to understand Tolstoy story and make it clear. It could also be used to introduce Zen as a religion and a philosophy to World History students. This title is recommended for all libraries. All ages and grades.
Sassy_Seshat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautifully illustrated story based on one written by Leo Tolstoy. Muth's interpretation and artistic style leaves me speechless and reflective every time.
jmilton11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: FolktaleAge: IntermediateMedia: WatercolorReview: The life lesson given at the end of the story is about living in the now, which is an important aspect for folktales. Also, the boy helping the panda and her baby appeals to the child's sense of justice. Setting: Since there is a panda in the story, the reader can assume the story takes place in China. However, the setting is not necessarily described by the author; it is more set by the illustrator.
lorinhigashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jon Muth was successful in his ability to take a story by a prolific writer Tolstoy and retell it in a children's storybook. He simplified the story by giving us a young boy and animals as the characters, using illustrations from watercolors and grayed out colors except for the red kite. The character Nikolai uses his curiosity and desire to wanting to be a better person, showing children that in times they will put aside their own wants for the benefit of others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have given this book to my grandchildren because I think it has a very important message and is beautifully written and  illustrated.  It is a book for all ages, really.  It is one of my very favorite childrens' books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is a bit advanced for young children, but it certainly leaves one with a great deal to think about. Great conversations can develop after reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grandma_Patty More than 1 year ago
I was concerned that this might be a little bit over my 7 year old grandson's head, but after reading it together and talking about it, I was pleased to find that he understood the story very well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would definetely recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my daughter who is a high school English teacher. I thought it would help inspire her students. I thought she could use it along the lines of "Oh the places you will go".
ShiroKoinu More than 1 year ago
I love all of Jon Muth's books. The illustrations are fantastic and artful, and the story lines are imaginative while still teaching life lessons. It is a good book to teach children to help those in need when they need it where ever you may be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had read Leo Tolstoy's book concerning the Three Questions a long time ago, and was pleased to see this instalment clearly written for middle school children - perhaps even younger. While the story is written for children in mind, what is more captivating is the extraordinarily lovely series of illustrations that augment the story. The artistic rendering will appeal to many children, and provides much more to consider when the book is read more than once. There is a subtle nature to the illustrations, which work 'hand in glove' with the story. I wish that this was around when my own child was young, as I am sure that this would have become a perennial favourite. I think that the story lends itself to much thoughtful consideration, and conversation with your child. I do very much and heartily recommend this book for anyone with an introspective nature, and/or child.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. And so do my children. It reminds us to slow down, pay attention and the importance of being with and helping others. Should be a classic.