Stillwater is a philosophical panda, a character from Jon J. Muth’s picture books Zen Shorts, Zen Ties, Zen Ghosts, and Zen Socks. Here he is reading (wonder what the book is – something by Kierkegaard? Or perhaps the Tao Te Ching?) and that little panda is his nephew Hi Koo (he tends to speak in haikus).

Muth is one of my favourite illustrators and his stories are pure poetry, plus pretty funny too. My favourite of the books is the first, Zen Shorts, which sees Stillwater making friends with three children (Addy, Michael and Karl) and telling them stories that never fail to surprise and inspire me with their simple charm and wisdom – no matter how many times I revisit them.



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