'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 21 July 2023

Review: Stillwater and Koo Save the World

Stillwater the panda is the star of Zen Shorts (a Caldecott Honor Book) and other picture books by Jon J. Muth, as well as a self-titled animated series for children.

In Stillwater and Koo Save the World, we observe Koo and Stillwater. They're family (Stillwater is Koo's uncle) and take care of each other.

When Stillwater asks Koo what he'd like to do for the day, Koo has a big idea -- to fix everything that's wrong with the world. It's such a big idea that he isn't sure where to start.

Stillwater has his own ideas about how to help Koo with his mission. Sometimes a big idea needs to start with something smaller.

In this instance, Stillwater suggests Koo start by tidying his room. Koo recognises that tidying up generates a good feeling because everything is less messy. After tidying, Koo, helped by Stillwater, moves onto other smaller actions. Like feeding Jasper the cat, and baking for their neighbours.

Later, while on a bike ride in the countryside, Koo explains his worry for the world and its fragile state. An encounter with a family of ducks is a reminder of how we can help each other. And as Stillwater reminds Koo, each small act of kindness is a contribution to saving the world, one step at a time.

This is a picture book packed with gorgeous watercolour illustrations. The lines and pastel colours, combined with generous use of white space, create a gentle, calming effect, and the pandas will appeal to readers of all ages. Those who understand haiku, may also notice that Koo's speech patterns reflect this Japanese style of poetry.

A heartwarming book, Stillwater and Koo Save the World is a clear and simple demonstration of how we can all make a difference, beginning with the small yet powerful action of being kind.

Title: Stillwater and Koo Save the World
Author/Illustrator: Jon J. Muth
Publisher: Scholastic, $ 26.99
Publication Date: June 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781338812312
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book