The Three Questions [Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy]

by Jon J. Muth

Hardcover, 2002

Status

Available

Local notes

E Mut

Publication

Scholastic Press (2002), Edition: 1st, 32 pages

Description

Nikolai asks his animal friends to help him answer three important questions: "When is the best time to do things?" "Who is the most important?" and "What is the right thing to do?"

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2002

Physical description

32 p.; 10.25 x 0.25 inches

ISBN

0439199964 / 9780439199964

Barcode

2293

User reviews

LibraryThing member quicksilvertears
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member ambagwell1
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.)"… (more)
LibraryThing member kmacneill
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member ktextor
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 :)… (more)
LibraryThing member EmilyPhilips
The Three Questions is about a young boy who searches for answers from a wise source to questions he has about life. It is appropriate for middle elementary. This book is great for teaching because it is a book that makes you think and learn life lessons in the process.
LibraryThing member lanebrown
Muth’s book is based on the book by the same name by Leo Tolstoy. In the story, a boy named Nikolai is searching for the answer to 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 friends but, unsatisfied with their answers, he goes to the wise old turtle for help. While with the turtle, he ends up helping him dig his garden, and saves a panda and her baby from a thunderstorm. Through these experiences he realizes the answers to his questions.

I think this would spur a great conversation among students. I’m really excited to read it with mine! It would be interesting to see what they originally think the answers to those questions are and if they agree with the answers the boy discovers. I would also love to spend some time having them think and write about how the lessons in this book apply to their lives.
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LibraryThing member lpeters
Great book, with a deep meaning that may be hard to grasp. I would use for older grades!
LibraryThing member mrolibrarian
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member lorinhigashi
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.… (more)
LibraryThing member shungate
This is an excellent story about a young boy named Nikolai who is trying to find the answers to some very important 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 friends who all have different perspectives but not the one Nikolai was really looking for. He decides to seek help from someone who is wiser and older than the rest of them, the old turtle. The old turtle does not just tell him the answers he makes him find out for himself. After helping a family of panda’s he comes to learn that the most important time is now, the most important one is the one who you are with and the most important thing is to do good for the one you are standing with. Without even realizing it Nikolai answered the question himself. This great picture book teaches children lessons about what is important in life.… (more)
LibraryThing member jmilton11
Genre: Folktale
Age: Intermediate
Media: Watercolor
Review: 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.
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LibraryThing member Irishdart
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.
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LibraryThing member GayWard
Nikolai asks his animal friends to help him anser three important questions: "When is the best time to do things?" "Whos is the most important one" and "What is the right thing to do?"
LibraryThing member Sassy_Seshat
Beautifully illustrated story based on one written by Leo Tolstoy. Muth's interpretation and artistic style leaves me speechless and reflective every time.
LibraryThing member RachelPeterson
This book is about a young boy who searches for answers from a wise source to three questions he has about life. I would read this book to middle elementary students, this book has great illustrations and makes you think and learn about life lessons.
LibraryThing member epoche
The three questions in this book are: When is the best time to do things, Who is the most important one and What is the right thing to do? The little boy asked animals for answers to his questions. He doesn't like their answer so he decides to ask a turtle. While rescuing a mom and baby panda he learns the answers to his questions but doesn't even realize. The lesson is one important time is now, most important person is others and do good for ones by your side. I recommend this book when talking about social justice or empathy.… (more)
LibraryThing member Crystal.Axelson
This is a great book for teaching different life lessons.
LibraryThing member dukefan86
The illustrations themselves are almost worth a higher rating--beautiful water colors for a childrens book! The story itself is a philosophical one; if I were reading it to a child or to a class, I'd want to broaden the discussion immediately after reading it. Still, a neat (and beautiful) book!
LibraryThing member ying-sun
This is a nice philosophy book. The story is based on three questions which confuse the readers all the time. Those are three meaningful questions and everyone will have different answers. I love the sentence:" Remember then that 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." And the illustration of this book is really beautiful. And children cannot understand the meanings of this book maybe. But it's also interesting to hear different answers of these three questions from students.
Age: 8-10
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LibraryThing member biarias
This book can be found in the world religions subsection in the children's area of a bookstore. It is placed there because the story elements are inspired by Zen Buddhist beliefs, but it is not direct in this regard. While I think it is important to educate children on the variety of religions explicitly, I like that this is an immediately universal tale with theological subtexts. I think it is a good way to demonstrate to children that we are not actually all that different by reading something relatable, and then later explaining the religious influences that might not have originally been seen as relatable.… (more)
LibraryThing member susan.suihkonen
Beautifully honors diversity in the pursuit of truth, resulting in the conclusion that the most important person is the one you are with, the most important time is now, and the most important thing to do is to care for the people around you.
LibraryThing member lmeza
I liked this book for its value and the message. My 4-year old enjoyed the panda part.
LibraryThing member Ms.Kunz
I thought this was somewhat contrived, but ultimately a very sweet story--with excellent lessons about morality. The illustrations are lovely watercolors, superbly executed.
LibraryThing member KMClark
This lovely modern work is inspired by a classic work of Leo Tolstoy's. Author and illustrator Jon Muth does a beautiful job of taking a universal concept and making it accessible to young children as they too ponder the importance of life and those they encounter.
LibraryThing member pataustin
Nikolai is a contemplative soul, and he wants the answers to three questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Posing these questions to his friends, Sonya the heron, Gogol the monkey, and Pushkin the dog (love the literary allusions), Nikolai isn't sold on their answers and so seeks advice from Leo, the old and wise turtle. Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, this book engenders great discussion about what matters in life.

I'd have the students jot down their own personal answers first - read the story, and think about how closely their own answers were to the answers that emerged from Nikolai's own actions in doing the right thing. I'd also have students compare Muth's versions to Tolstoy's, so easily accessible on the Web.
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Pages

32

Rating

(234 ratings; 4.3)
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