In a world that can’t seem to slow down, this story reminds readers to trust their instincts and breathe.

ALREADY A BUTTERFLY

A MEDITATION STORY

Meditation and mindfulness practices are woven into a sweet story about a busy butterfly.

Mari Posa is a beautiful butterfly, depicted with a human body, vibrantly jewel-toned wings, medium-brown skin, and black braided hair. She stays extremely busy, with a fast-paced pollination schedule and lengthy list of chores, and she never has time to rest. Mari doesn’t feel any better prepared for the bustling tempo of the world after her parents offer suggestions that she follow her instincts and have fun but without any advice on how to do so. A timely lesson from a friendly flower bud on self-acceptance and measured breathing helps Mari connect with her body and find the joys in life that she had been passing by. An enlightened Mari approaches life with new appreciation for her surroundings and fresh confidence. The message that readers can find quiet within themselves is followed by a simple lesson on breathing embedded in the story. Mari chants, “Breathing in, I am a butterfly. Breathing out, I feel happy,” and readers may find themselves breathing along. Soft, textured illustrations full of floral elements match the gentle quality of the tale.

In a world that can’t seem to slow down, this story reminds readers to trust their instincts and breathe. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62779-932-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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