A mindful realization of many elements makes a useful centering guide.

STARS BEFORE BEDTIME

A MINDFUL FALL-ASLEEP BOOK

From the Before Bedtime series

The ritual of a bedtime story pairs with activities to calm body and mind.

Children of various racial presentations perform mindfulness exercises just before bedtime. The text promises a “goodbye to the wriggles and the fidgets” and to “let the calm feelings in.” Most of the double-page spreads contain two key elements: a greatly abbreviated account of a classic Greek myth that inspired particular constellations, complete with literal and symbolic images of the stars, and instructions for mindfulness exercises that relate to the tale in some way, textually identified by a lavender crescent moon. Activities include conscious breathing, body stretches, and/or visual imagery. For example, the page with Draco the snakelike dragon accompanies an exercise to stretch out on the bed then breathe out with a hiss. “Notes for Grown-Ups” bookend the text, relating suggested reading strategies and the benefits of mindfulness. The tales are made kid-friendly (“Zeus fell in love again”) but include just the barest minimum of storyline. There is a nice variety of calming exercises with easy transitions from the tales, forming a cohesive presentation. Blues and yellows blanket the pages, with accenting pinks, creams, and browns. The pictures appear as if they were sometimes made with crayon or cut paper, helping to create a childlike style, with lots of details to peruse in the backgrounds of bedrooms or night skies.

A mindful realization of many elements makes a useful centering guide. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5557-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece,...

HUMAN BODY

From the Scratch and Learn series

A very simple guide to (some) human anatomy, with scratch-off patches.

On sturdy board pages two cartoon children—one brown, one a sunburned pink—pose for cutaway views of select anatomical features. In most images certain parts, such as lungs and bladder on the “Organs” spread and both gluteus maximi on “Muscles,” are hidden beneath a black layer that can be removed with the flat end (or more slowly with the pointed one) of a wooden stylus housed in an attached bubble pack. With notable lack of consistency, the names of select organs or areas, with such child-centric additions as “A cut,” or “Poop,” are gathered in bulleted lists and/or placed as labels for arbitrarily chosen items in the pictures. It’s hard to envision younger readers getting more than momentary satisfaction from this, as they industriously scrape away and are invited to learn terms such as “Alveoli” and “Latissimus dorsi” that are, at best, minimally defined or described. Older ones in search of at least marginally systematic versions of the skeletal, sensory, nervous, and other (but not reproductive) systems will be even less satisfied. Even those alive to the extracurricular possibilities of a volume that contains, as one of the two warnings on the rear cover notes, a “functional sharp point,” will be disappointed.

There may be an audience for this—but not in any library, classroom, group, or, particularly considering the pointy piece, preschool setting. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-323-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world.

EXTREME SURVIVORS

From the American Museum of Natural History Easy Readers series

“Extreme” gets a broad definition (ticks?), but the first-rate photographs and easy-to-read commentary in this survey of animals adapted to harsh habitats will win over budding naturalists.

Sixteen creatures ranging from hot-springs bacteria and the tiny but nearly invulnerable water bear to sperm whales parade past, sandwiched between an introductory spread and a full gallery of thumbnails that works as a content review. The animals are presented in an ordered way that expedites comparisons and contrasts of body features or environments. The sharply reproduced individual stock photos were all taken in the wild and include a mix of close-up portraits, slightly longer shots that show surroundings and more distant eyewitness views. The Roops present concrete facts in simple language—“Penguins have feathers and thick fat to keep them warm”—and vary the structures of their two- to four-sentence passages so that there is never a trace of monotony. Like its co-published and equally inviting title, Melissa Stewart’s World’s Fastest Animals, this otherwise polished series entry closes with a marginally relevant small-type profile of a herpetologist at the American Museum of Natural History.

Just the ticket to spark or nurture early interest in the wonders of the natural world. (Informational early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0631-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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