A cast of young, cartoon animals in children’s clothes follow the narrator’s directions about how to “relax, breathe, and listen.”
The title page shows a pig, an elephant, a rabbit, a bear, and a cat—all in school attire, including brightly colored backpacks—heading toward a large set of stairs. Behind them is an urban skyline, and around them are the flora and fauna of a park. The entire text is composed of simple instructions for relaxation, beginning with the suggestion that readers sit down and clench, then relax, “every part of your body.” After the cat follows these commands, the perfect, humorous choice to illustrate noticing the breath is the elephant. The bunny, piglet, and bear show proper placement of paws for feeling breaths. Throughout, the text is straightforward, with a few gentle rhymes. As the animals use visualization, background scenes move from the classroom to an idyllic beach. A jar of glitter is used to help the animals imagine their thoughts settling down. The text moves on to helping children express different emotions with their bodies, always affirming the importance of breathing and, later, listening. A jewel-toned palette, sweet animal faces, and soothing landscapes—combined with a text infused with care—ensure that a child or adult can pick up any part of this book to take a needed break from stress.
An impressive, thoughtful collaboration. (Picture book. 3-6)