Cover image for The greatest power
The greatest power
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 x 27 cm
Long ago, a Chinese emperor challenges the children of his kingdom to show him the greatest power in the world, and all are surprised at what is discovered.
Reading Level:
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.0 0.5 77219.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Emperor Ping, the boy emperor known for his love of harmony, sets a challenge to the children of his kingdom: show him the greatest power in the world. "To know the greatest power in the world is to know the greatest peace," Emperor Ping announces. "Whoever knows this harmony will become the new prime minister."
The children get to work right away and have many bright ideas. The greatest power must be weapons! It must be beauty! It must be money!
But as a young girl named Sing reflects upon the challenge, she wonders how any of those things, which cannot last forever, could be the greatest power in the world. She is certain there is something even more powerful, and the source of this power will surprise and delight her.
A companion to Demi's stunning picture book The Empty Pot, The Greatest Power continues the story of Ping now that he has become an emperor. With striking artwork and a lovely, lyrical text, this next chapter in Emperor Ping's life is sure to enrapture young readers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. This companion to The Empty Pot (1990) continues the story of the life of Ping, the young emperor who wants to bring harmony to his kingdom. Ping sends all the children in the kingdom on a year-long quest to find the greatest power in the world, telling them, A wise person must be able to see the unseen and know the unknown. The boys believe the power is great weapons; the girls, great beauty; the students, great technology; and the practical children, great amounts of money. When the children come to show the emperor what they have discovered, the last child in line, a little girl named Sing, remembers Ping's words. She presents a lotus seed as the powerful force of eternal life, and Ping names her the new prime minister. The text and the handsomely designed, richly colored artwork, which is touched with gold leaf, are set within a circular motif that reinforces the idea of eternity. As usual, Demi ably combines striking artwork and a meaningful story, with quiet dignity and wisdom. --Julie Cummins Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a fable similar to her The Empty Pot, Demi uses an emperor's riddle to demonstrate The Greatest Power. The boy emperor Ping asks the children of the empire to discover the world's greatest power as a test of their abilities. While many choose weapons, beauty or money, one girl takes a different path and proves that life itself is the greatest power. The gold gilt illustrations, set in large circles on each page, provide an elegant balance to the tranquil text and wise conclusion. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-This companion to Demi's The Empty Pot (Holt, 1990) continues the story of Ping, who is now emperor. He desires to bring the harmony of the heavens, which he views through his telescope, to his kingdom. He issues a proclamation inviting all of the children to participate in a quest culminating in a year's time, when "we shall have a great parade, and- each of you will show me what you think is the greatest power in the world." The emperor concludes cryptically, "A wise person must be able to see the unseen and know the unknown." Some youngsters determine that weapons are the answer, while others suggest beauty, technology, or money. Only young Sing ponders Ping's words. In the end, she is inspired by the lotus seed and breaks it in two for the emperor, showing him that the greatest power is life: "The nothing in this seed is the space in between where life exists." This cycle of life is perfect harmony. Ping is pleased and declares her prime minister. As in the earlier book, this one has a rich palette, attention to detail, and delightful depictions of youngsters. Though the concept of this offering is worthy of discussion and reflection, the story teeters too heavily on the abstract. The Empty Pot was a magical tale-simple, poignant, and easily understood by young and old. The Greatest Power can spark philosophical discussion but not with a clear and accessible story.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.