Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 99

Note: The photograph above is the Braille version of this book.

Picture Book: The Empty Pot

Author & Illustrator: Demi

Summary: Ping is a young boy who, like many in China at the time of this traditional tale, has a passion for growing flowers. What he grows bursts into bloom. When the Emperor needs a successor, he decides to “let the flowers choose.” The Emperor orders all the young children to come to his palace to receive flower seeds. Whoever shows the Emperor “their best in a year’s time” will succeed him. Ping receives the flower seeds but has no success; nothing grows. When the year ends, Ping fearfully brings an empty pot to the Emperor. The other children bring brilliant blooms. When the Emperor asks for Ping’s explanation, Ping describes the different methods he tried for growing the seeds, and then Ping says “Nothing grew. It was the best I could do.” The Emperor smiles and proclaims that Ping will be his successor. All the seeds had been cooked, making them impossible to grow. Only Ping has been honest and courageous.

Hanna’s Comments: Like so many traditional tales, this has a clever twist and an honorable hero. Consider using this book when talking about the importance of honesty or courage. Emphasize that the beauty in this story is not only in the flowers but also in the characters of Ping and the Emperor. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Square Fish, 1990

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Video on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Traditional

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, anxiety/worry, Asia, authenticity, babies/children, bravery/courage, challenges, choices/decisions, chosen, competition, confession, consequences/punishment, disappointment, deception/dishonesty/lies/lying, eggs/seeds, ethics, flowers/leaves/trees, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, gifts/giftedness/talents, goodness, honesty, humility, labor/work, the Law/rules/10 commandments, legends/myths, resisting evil, respect, righteousness, risking, temptations, truth

Scripture Connections: The story of Joseph interpreting dreams for Pharaoh (Genesis 41); Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9); For we aim at what is honorable (2 Corinthians 8:21)

Idea(s) for Application: This book would work well with a lesson on Joseph when he chooses to tell the Pharaoh dire dream interpretations. This telling took a great deal of courage and led to Joseph becoming an Egyptian leader who saves many during the terrible famine his dreams predicted.