The Three Questions
While taking a quiet moment in the youth collection the book The Three Questions caught my eye. Written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth, the book is based on the short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy. (We have a version of Tolstoy’s short story to check out at the library, but a quick search on the internet will lead you to a many digital versions). In Muth’s version the main character is a little boy; in Tolstoy’s version the main character is a powerful king. In both stories the main characters go on a quest to find answers to what they consider to be the three most important questions in life:
When is the best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the the right thing to do?
Failing to get a satisfactory answer, the main characters venture out to find someone wise to ask. The young boy visits a turtle, while the king sets off to visit a hermit. It is only after a series of events that the answers are revealed by the wise ones. In Muth’s version the wise turtle responds, “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. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world. This is why we are here”.
Jon Muth’s The Three Questions is beautifully illustrated and sends a message of love and mindfulness of others. It is perfect for the child that always wants to know “why”, and it is perfect for the parent who wants to touch on the subject of compassion and helpfulness towards others.