Nikolai is a boy who believes that if he can find the answers to his three questions, he will always know how to be a good person. His friends--a heron, a monkey, and a dog--try to help, but to no avail, so he asks Leo, the wise old turtle. "When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?" Leo doesn't answer directly, but by the end of Nikolai's visit, the boy has discovered the answers himself.
This is one of my favorite picture books. The three questions asked by Nikolai are a wonderful way to get kids and adults thinking about right and wrong. According to the story, the questions are answered like this:
1. When is the best time to do things? Now.
2. Who is the most important one? The one you are with.
3. What is the right thing to do? To do good for the person by your side.
I have had wonderful, hour-long discussions with my students based on this short but powerful story. I recommend it for ALL ages!
What is your favorite picture book with a lesson?
Excellent! The cover is engrossing.
Wonderful! I need to get this for my best friends daughter..she would love it!
Awesome! I especially like the first question. I can tell I need to read more PB's. :)
I love picture books with a message. One of my favorites is On the Night You Were Born. It's for little kids, but I think it's wonderful.
That is a great book recommend, Shannon! I'm picking it up from the library today.
I teach Ed Young's award-winning THREE BLIND MICE in college. It's a fascinating fusion of physics, art, and virtue!
Jonathon - I love the cover.
Courtney - It would make a great gift!
Elana - PB's are an untapped goldmine! Seriously.
Stephanie - That really is a wonderful book, Steph. Good pick.
Jennie - Uh-oh. Now I have to buy that one. I collect subject area/cross-curricular PB's and use them in district in-services. That one sounds awesome! Thanks. :-)
This sounds like a really good book! I love, "Love You Forever." Tops my favorite of all time.
LOVE it!! Will look for it at he library!
Sounds like a great book. And words we should all live by, 'When is the best time to do things?' Now, indeed.
I should heed this advice more often.
Good post, Shannon, as always :)
I love a good picture book, especially one that will get my kids thinking. Thanks Shannon! Love it!
I haven't read a good picture book in a while. Thanks hun!
All things Dr. Seuss (happy birthday, Genius!), especially The Sneetches, What was I scared of? and, Yertle the Turtle.
Bethany - Yes! Love You Forever is a classic. I love it.
Christina - Hope you enjoy it. :)
Wendy - Thanks, Wendy. My favorite is that the most important one is the one you are WITH.
Carolyn - Your kids will love the boy's best friends: the heron, the monkey, and the crane! :)
Tamika - Anytime! :-)
Mary - My favorite Seuss book is The Lorax. Great lesson! :-)
Beautiful book. Now I'm going to have to go and find it for myself (okay, and maybe my kids)!
I use picture books with older kids too. I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm going to see if the library has it tomorrow. :)
Wow! I'm going to get this book.
I love the Zen Stories, an absolute favorite of mine! Looks like it might be the same author, not sure though.
I like Stone Soup as wel.
Zen Shorts, Zen Ties, Stone Soup and The Three Questions are all by the same author...got to love it.
I just checked at Amazon!
Sounds like a wonderful book! When I was young, I loved Leo the Late Bloomer. I guess the lesson would be for children not to worry if they're slower to be able to do things than their peers, we all develop at different rates.
This looks like a lovely book. I love the questions.
Sounds precious. I need more kids in my life so I can read more children books without getting looked at strangely.
When Tamika highlighted this blog, I just HAD to visit. Now that I see your name (surely Irish, like the character in my first novel), I am sooo glad I did!
Hope you will visit my place; perhaps we can become bloggites!
Oh, did you take me back to picture book days! My kids and I still adore (they are now 24/22) the Good Dog, Carl, series.
The point is that the dog and the baby can fool the mother...
Better is Tar Beach, which shows the beauty of even a high-rise "yard" and highlights Faith Ringgold's fabulouso story quilts.
Thanks for a wonderful visit!
I love "When I Was A Boy, I Dreamed." It teaches that you never have to stop dreaming. :) Great book!
I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing Shannon :)
Shannon, I love this book too! I use it with my sixth graders. I'm a huge fan of picture books. Have you read Wabi Sabi? Here's a link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/books/review/Long-t.html
There are so many to love...An Angel for Solomon Singer is another great one. High School kids would love seeing themselves in the various characters of the book.
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