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116
4.8 out of 5 stars
The Empty Pot
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2001
Format: School & Library Binding
The artwork in this book is among the most exquisite I've ever seen in a children's book--or for that matter, in ANY book. Whatever the artist was paid, it wasn't enough! Everything--from the 50 or so little boys and girls to their flowers to the kimonos they wore for the presentation to the Emperor--was done in such minute detail, and no duplication in any of it. Each child had a personality and style all their own. Even if your child is a newborn or an infant, this book is worth getting just so the two of you can be dazzled by the visuals.
And the story!--no matter what your religion, creed, or background, the message is timeless. Ping's family and friends all know what a green thumb he has, and you'd think he'd be a shoo-in for Emperor when the seeds are distributed. The flowers DO decide who the next Emperor is. . .but not in the way you might think. There are two very wise men who figure prominently in this story: the Emperor and Ping's father, who tells Ping, "your best is good enough to present to the Emperor." And the unspoken message there is, "I'm proud of you, son, and I believe in you." Three cheers for Ping!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a perfect story to teach my little one the value of telling the truth, no matter what that truth may be. I first heard this story on "Between the Lions" and couldn't wait to own it myself. In life, the the truth may not alway win you the prize (as it does in this story) but standing up for what is right is a great quality that I feel is severly lacking in our society today. With this book, let's teach the next generation!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book amazed me. I picked it up at a garage sale with a stack of other kid's books, and after the first read I was hooked! This book is a treasure. The art is gorgeous and the story is masterfully told. I love the way the author delivers the moral message of the story--it is clear enough that children "get it" but at the same time it's never preachy or moralizing. Children as young as 3 will enjoy the story for it's engaging pictures and the moral message is appropriate for any age.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
"It's a jungle out there." And it really is. So how are we going to teach our children to live in today's society? I for one am going to teach my children to be honest- no matter what the cost. In the end, as in The Empty Pot, honesty is always the best policy. The setting is ancient China. The emperor loves flowers and is growing old. He needs to find a replacement for his crown. How to find a replacement? Give each child in the village a seed to see who can grow the most beautiful flower of course! Young Ping, who is an outstanding gardner, has little doubt he will grow a great flower for the emperor. The problem is, Ping's seed will not grow. All of the other kids are growing wonderful flowers, but yet Ping is failing. The day finally arrives and the emperor orders all of the children to bring their flowers to be inspected. Ping is ashamed, he has nothing to show. He approaches his father for advice. His father tells him that his pot, although empty of a beautiful flower, is sufficient enough; he did his best and the empty truth must do. So young Ping goes to the village with his empty pot. The emperor, while inspecting the various flowers, looks rather gloom. At last he approaches Ping. He asks Ping why is pot is empty. Ping explains that he did his best to grow the flower but it just would not grow. The emperor smiles and exclaims that he has found his replacement. He goes on to explain that all of the seeds he had given to the children were COOKED and therefore could not grow. Now you tell me, is honesty something you want to teach your children? If so, you will love this book. (By the way, my version is rather condensed and does not do the story nor the illustrations justice). I hope you enjoy it, I know that my children- as well as myself- adore this story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well, I guess 30 **5-Star Reviews** pretty much says it all. This book is just a delight. The artwork is good and the story is mesmerizing for adults and children alike.

As a mom of two young children I especially like that there are teaching points throughout in this book. First, there is Ping's persistence with the seed that just refuses to sprout. He tries again and again with different methods, and never says 'I can't' until there is no time left.

Then there is the fact that Ping and his father set their own standards and don't do what everyone else does. They remain honest in the face of great temptation, and neither looks to others to decide how to act.

[I have used this as a starting point of discussion with my own children to talk about how there will be circumstances in their lives in which other people are doing such-and-such and that they will feel pressured to go along with the crowd --yield to temptation-- but that like Ping we have to act according to what is right.]

Five Stars. Nice Art. Good read-aloud. This book has a great story with good lessons.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently read this book to a group of first and second graders to accompany our current unit on plants. The children listened to the story and were in awe of the vibrant illustrations. We were able to discuss not only what we had learned about seeds (in that the cooked one wouldn't grow), but the lesson that the kids pulled from it was probably the most valuable. They talked about how telling the truth was more important than being ashamed of one's "failure"--that those who tell the truth often come out "on top,"and it is those people that we want to associate with. The book also sparked great conversation on what an Emporer was and the important attributes of a great leader. A wonderful story that children will want to pick up and read again and again!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite books to read with my two and three year olds. It is beautifully done, with a wonderful lesson/moral to the story. It is true to the Chinese tradition of story telling to help educate. In a warm embrassing tone, the book moves the reader to understand the importance of truth and honesty in everyday living.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Demi's "The Empty Pot" while visiting an English-speaking elementary school in Hong Kong. It delighted me, and I have used it as a teaching aid for children in my congregation. Teaching honesty to children can be a challenge, but "The Empty Pot" allows a wonderfully illustrated story to do its work. This short book even has a surprise ending which will delight its young readers!
I used this book by reading it aloud to pre-school children who had not yet learned to read. The colorful pictures showing a traditional Chinese culture so different from America generated many questions. We talked about most of pages as we read along in the book. The conclusion is very powerful and offers a unique time to discuss the value of honesty. Religion teachers will find this story to be a good way to segue into discussions about personal religious principles.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A refreshing tale about the value of honesty; the boy who dares to appear before the Emporer with an empty pot is chosen to become the next Emporer. The illustrations are subtle yet wonderful- echoing the appeal of old Chinese porcelain designs. A nice aesthetic experience. Unlike some old tales retold, the ending emphasizes reward of the good rather than punishment of the bad. I wish I had bought the hardcover edition of this book because we plan on hanging on to it for a long time!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to this book by an elementary teacher, but now I use it with my middle school students. It is a great review of honesty and easy to do activities with. You can give each student a pot to decorate, soil and a seed. Watch them grow all year.
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