Briggs delivers the fourth title in the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series, a musing on familiar turns of phrase.
When the narrator’s mother prompts the child to “catch your breath,” the child pauses to wonder “Where would it go?!” Narrated by a child entirely washed in yellow with straight, cropped hair, a hoodie, and pants, the book wastes no time in employing “fun sayings about breath.” These are by turns endearing (“Mom says Grandpa grumbles under his breath…. / Maybe my breath is there?”) and groan-inducing (“Oh no!— / I can’t hold my / breath underwater!” the child exclaims as the breath literally eludes outstretched fingers). Personified as a floppy, smiling red-pink entity with the consistency of a semi-inflated balloon, the breath enjoys the chase. Some jokes will require explaining: “I’ve heard I can buy babies’ breath at a nursery,” says the child to a doctor in a maternity unit. A muted palette and the sparing use of color work to softly highlight characters and dialogue (conveyed in speech bubbles). Loosely drawn black-and-white backgrounds, as well as small details such as secondary characters’ mid-20th-century-yet-undated attire, create a nostalgia that is unsurprising for Disney. However, this nostalgia combined with jokes that rely on a young child’s naiveté about wordplay may leave readers wondering who this book is really meant for.
No need to wait with bated breath. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)