Anzu the Great Listener (Anzu the Great Kaiju #2) (Hardcover)
January/February 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“As someone whose default mode is to try to ‘fix’ things for friends and family in need, I very much appreciated the reminder that sometimes the best gift one can offer is the gift of sympathy/empathy without additional action.”
— Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations, Redondo Beach, CA
In this follow-up to Anzu the Great Kaiju, created by Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum, we follow sweet and well-intentioned Anzu as he learns a valuable lesson about patience and empathy in the face of sadness—perfect for fans of The Rabbit Listened.
Anzu the kaiju loves to tend to his bonsai.
Whenever he feels overwhelmed or unsettled, it helps him pause and reminds him to just . . . breathe.
One day, when Anzu hears crying in the distance, he’s eager to help! The flower-power that makes his bonsai bloom has a way of making others smile.
But when Anzu’s flowers seem to lose their power, hurting more than they help, he’s not sure where to turn—until he remembers some valuable lessons he learned from his bonsai tree.
In Anzu the Great Listener, creator and Walt Disney Studios animator Benson Shum illustrates the importance of patience, empathy, and above all, taking the time to listen.
Benson Shum has illustrated a number of picture books, including Adam Lehrhaupt’s Sloth Went, Jennifer Sattler’s Go to Sheep, and his own Anzu the Great Kaiju. Benson is also an animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he has contributed to such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Frozen II, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Encanto. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Benson now lives in sunny Southern California.
"[A] serene tone and simply delivered lesson. . . A gentle suggestion that help should always be accompanied by respect. —Kirkus Reviews
"A beautiful, simple story about listening, feelings, healing, and empathy." —Booklist
PRAISE FOR ANZU THE GREAT KAIJU:
"Benson Shum has created a heartwarming story of acceptance and strength all wrapped up in a cute little package named Anzu." —Dan Santat, Caldecott medalist and author of the bestselling book After the Fall
*"It’s a pleasure to see the monster myth once again turned on its head. Spoiler alert: Goofy, loving monster makes good on his proclivities for joy, and wins his parents’ approval along the way. It’s a triumph, all right." —School Library Journal, starred review
"More sweet than scary, this heartfelt story naturally incorporates specific elements of Japanese culture into impressive picture-book storytelling." —The Horn Book Magazine
"[E]ngaging and heartwarming. . . . A tongue-in-cheek bildungsroman spun around celebrating differences and the underrated superpowers of gentleness and sweetness. —Kirkus Reviews
"Shum’s experience as an animator. . . is evident in the way he storyboards the narrative, pulls readers along with cinematic energy, and celebrates Japanese aesthetics—with everything from bonsai trees to golden picture frames to tiny creatures that look like adorable walking dumplings. [A] wholly original tale, which proves humorous, heartfelt, and as sweet as the flowers Anzu conjures." —Booklist