The empty pot


Book - 1990

When Ping admits that he is the only child in China unable to grow a flower from the seeds distributed by the Emperor, he is rewarded for his honesty.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Demi Due Jun 19, 2024
Picture books
New York : H. Holt c1990.
Main Author
Demi (-)
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Ages 5-7. Ping is a boy who loves flowers, and he grows them magnificently. The Emperor, also a gardener, distributes a seed to each child in his kingdom, proclaiming that the one who can grow the best flower will be the next ruler. Ping is excited, but though he tends his seed faithfully, watering and repotting, nothing happens. A year passes, and the children are invited to show the Emperor their efforts. Ping's pot is empty, but his father tells him that since he has done his best, he needn't be ashamed. The other children, however, arrive with lush flowers, each confident he or she will be chosen to reign. Then, the Emperor informs the children he cooked all the seeds--there is no way any of them could have produced flowers. Only honest Ping has the right stuff to be the Emperor. Demi's story, based on a Chinese folktale (though no sources are given), gets its message across in a manner both subtle and entertaining. Her precise pen-and-watercolor art works especially well here. As is usual in Demi's pictures, there is much to look at. Rounded scenes filled with exquisite detail and brightly dressed children are placed on lightly textured sea-green backgrounds. Satisfactory on many levels. ~--Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A Chinese boy with an green thumb wins the emperor's competition; PW praised the "extraordinarily delicate Oriental landscapes." Ages 4-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-- When the Chinese emperor proclaims that his successor will be the child who grows the most beautiful flowers from the seeds the emperor distributes, Ping is overjoyed. Like the emperor, he loves flowers and anything he plants bursts into bloom. But the emperor's seed will not grow, despite months of loving care, and Ping goes before the emperor carrying only his empty pot. The emperor ignores the beautiful blossoms brought by the other children and chooses Ping, revealing that the seeds he handed out had been cooked and could not grow. This simple story with its clear moral is illustrated with beautiful paintings. Each page contains a single picture, shaped like a stiff, rounded, paper fan and framed in celadon brocade that subtly changes pattern from one spread to the next. Isometric perspective, traditional Chinese architecture, and landscape motifs are combined with Demi's fine line and lively children and animals. While all the landscapes featuring the emperor and the other children are in brilliant red, gold, and purple, the scenes involving Ping alone are predominantly beige and delicate green. Ping is almost always shown as a solitary figure in contrast to the busy groups of running, smiling children, reinforcing theportrait of him as a quieter, more contemplative person whose values make him a worthy heir to the emperor. A beautifully crafted book that will be enjoyed as much for the richness of its illustrations as for the simplicity of its story. --Eleanor K. MacDonald, Beverly Hills Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

In a satisfying, accessible tale, all the children of the land are given seeds to grow for the old emperor; unbeknownst to them the seeds are incapable of germinating. Ping is chosen to be the next emperor when he is the only one who has the courage to come before the ruler with an empty pot. The story, gracefully and sparely told, is accompanied by delicately detailed artwork. From HORN BOOK 1990, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Ping is a fine gardener; but when the Chinese Emperor announces an unusual test to choose an heir--the child who raises the best flowers from a seed given by the Emperor will be his successor--then Ping, unaccountably, is unable to get his seed to sprout. Grieving but knowing he's done his best, he reports back with the other children, all of whom have gorgeous plants. But Ping's empty pot is best of all: the Emperor cooked the seeds before distributing them, hoping thereby to discover an honest person. Demi's characteristic delicate illustrations are at their most exquisite here, floating in bubble shapes on a soft green ground. A lovely story, well told and most attractively presented. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.