Useful for caregivers who already practice Pilates but for newbies, not so much.




From the My First Book of series

Given the recent popularity of yoga and mindfulness practices, it was only a matter of time before someone would publish a sturdy board book that purports to teach Pilates to preschoolers.

Ouerghi uses metaphor to illustrate 12 exercises that are strikingly similar to yoga poses. Her brief introduction doesn’t explain the difference between yoga and Pilates. A list of tips on the following page alludes to Pilates’ slower pace, but actual instruction is minimal, with no guidance as to the speed at which the exercises should be done or how many times they should be repeated. Eleven exercises follow, one per double-page spread. On verso, children are told to imagine being an animal, a boat, a bridge, or even pencils, while fanciful pictures hint at the prescribed exercise. For example, above a picture of two bears—one roasting marshmallows and the other using a saw (bizarrely) to shave bark off a log—text reads, “Imagine that your hands can saw through wood.” This will not help youngsters understand the seated alternate twist pictured on the right. Similarly, cute monkeys cutting paper in a tree seem unrelated to the scissor kick. On each recto, numbered illustrations of a child modeling the actions accompany rather cryptic instructions. The children display a variety of skin tones.

Useful for caregivers who already practice Pilates but for newbies, not so much. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-589-3

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Like a concerto for the heart.



Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño performs for President Abraham Lincoln amid a raging Civil War in Engle and López’s portrait of an artist.

Thanks to parental encouragement, Teresita learned about “all the beautiful / dark and light keys / of a piano” at an early age. By the age of 6, she composed original songs. Revolución in Venezuela soon drove an 8-year-old Teresa and her family to sail across the stormy sea to the United States, but the Carreño family arrived only to find another violent conflict—“the horrible Civil War”—in their adopted country. Despite the initial alienation that comes from being in an unfamiliar country, Teresita continued to improve and play “graceful waltzes and sonatas, / booming symphonies, and lively folk songs.” The Piano Girl’s reputation spread far, eventually garnering the attention of Lincoln, who invited the 10-year-old to perform at the White House! Yet the Civil War festered on, tormenting Teresita, who wished to alleviate the president’s burdens for at least one night. “How could music soothe / so much trouble?” Half biographical sketch, half wide-eyed tribute, Engle and López’s collaboration endearingly builds to Teresa’s fateful meeting with Lincoln like a gravitational pull, with bursts of compassion and admiration for both artist and public servant. Engle’s free verse whirls and twirls, playful and vivacious, while López’s vivid, colorful artwork elevates this story to heavenly heights.

Like a concerto for the heart. (historical note) (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8740-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A really wonderful way to introduce children to music from many Latin American cultures and to get the whole family dancing.



A colorful collection of 19 classic children’s songs from across Central and South America and the Caribbean.

This musical picture book jumps off with the song “Canciones del colibrí” (“Songs of the Hummingbird”) from Argentina; with lyrics by compiler and illustrator Ruiz Johnson, it’s the only entry that is not in the public domain. Readers get one stanza from the song in Spanish, with its English translation below and a bright full-spread illustration on the facing page in a vibrant folk-art style. The naïve, cheery illustrations are delightful and complement the music and songs well. Every song has its own two-page spread that follows the same formula as the first song. Other selections include “El gallito,” from Guatemala; “La familia Cucharón,” from Peru; and “Zapatico de charol,” from the Dominican Republic. Following the 19 songs are a labeled map of where all of the songs are from and the complete lyrics for every song, sans illustration, in English and Spanish. Performed by Grupo Cántaro, the musical CD included with the book really rounds out the collection with catchy rhythms and lovely singing, allowing children to listen, dance, read, and examine artwork, making it a well-rounded title for little music enthusiasts.

A really wonderful way to introduce children to music from many Latin American cultures and to get the whole family dancing. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-924774-20-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: The Secret Mountain

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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