Author: Jon J. Muth
Illustrator: Jon J. Muth
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Audience: Ages 6 – 10
Summary: Young Nikolai has 3 friends who happen to be animals; a bird, a monkey and a dog. Nikolai wanted to be a good boy but was uncertain what that meant so he asked his friends 3 questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Nikolai’s friends try their best to help Nikolai find the answer but don’t offer the advice Nikolai is looking for. Nikolai seeks the advice of a wise old turtle and through a series of circumstances Nikolai finds the answers to his questions.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a picture book using narration as the method of communication. The setting at the beginning of the story is on the shore of a body of water but Nikolai ends up in a mountain forest. The animals assume human characteristics, both noble and shallow.
Perspective on gender, race, culture, economic, ability: Nikolai is a typical white male but the animal’s characterizations neutralize any hint of race or gender. They are universal. There is no allusion to socio-economic status in the book and the story would be easily understood by any social class. It is completely neutral from a race or gender standpoint.
Scripture: James 4.13-17, Luke 10:25-37
Theology: We are called to love and care for others.
- When you have to make a decision that will either be good for you or for someone else, how do you decide what to do?
- When your parents ask you to do something, do you do it right away or make them ask you again and again? If yes, why?
- Who is the most important person in your life and why? Does that ever change?
Review prepared by Jim Collins, MACE, Entering Cohort Fall 2007
The Three Questions by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.