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The Children's Book Podcast

Jan 24, 2023

Benson Shum shares ANZU THE GREAT KAIJU, a story about a kaiju with an unconventional gift, and it’s sequel, ANZU THE GREAT LISTENER, which asks us to consider how not all acts of kindness are perceived as intended.


BOOK DESCRIPTION: Anzu the Great Kaiju by Benson Shum

Page Length: 40 pages

Ages 4 to 8

All great Kaiju are born with a super power to strike fear in the heart of the city. But Anzu is different.

Instead of mayhem, he likes May flowers. Instead of striking fear, he prefers to be sincere.

Can Anzu find a way to make his family proud and stay true to his kind self?

From Disney animator and illustrator Bensom Shum comes an adorable and heartwarming picture book about making your own way and the unexpected power of gentleness.


Anzu the Great Listener by Benson Shum

Page Length: 40 pages

Ages 4 to 8

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.



(5:53) “What if not all of kaijus want to destroy? What if they wanna bring joy or kindness? What would that look like in their world?” 

(7:13)  “Sometimes I  think it's a nice reminder to just listen, you know? And that silence between the two can make all the difference.”

(10:45)  “I think even kids, when they find something that's individual to them, making them happy, would actually make people around them just as happy, ”

(14:53) “We all listen in different ways. Just letting the person finish what they're saying is an act of listening, you know? …And maybe not trying to solve a problem if they have a problem and just kind of let them speak what they're saying. And then,  if they ask for help, then maybe you can jump in and have a suggestion.  I think that's an act of listening as well.“

(18:06) “Be kind. Listen to one another. Ask your teacher, a librarian like yourself, a friend, a family member, “How are you doing today?” And listen to what they have to say. To be heard and listened to can make a person's day from just those few words.” 





  1. What are some examples of kaiju that you can think of? What kind of kaiju would you be okay with discovering was coming for a visit? What kind of kaiju would you definitely want to avoid?
  2. What are some ways in which Benson is similar to Anzu? In what ways are they different? What are ways that you are similar (or different) to Benson? 
  3. What does being a good listener look like to you? How does it sound? How does it feel? How does it make others feel?
  4. Why do you think the book jacket is called a “book jacket”? What purpose does the book jacket serve? Can you think of any other books you’ve encountered where the cover art differs from the jacket art? Why do you think an artist might do this?



This podcast episode of The Children’s Book Podcast was written, edited, and produced by Matthew Winner. For a full transcript of this episode, visit

Our podcast logo was created by Duke Stebbins ( 

Our music is by Podington Bear. 

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DISCLAIMER: affiliate links provided for any book titles mentioned in the episode. support independent book stores and also shares a small percentage of any sales made through this podcast back to me, which helps to fund production of this show.