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The Disney-princess version of a yoga picture book; undoubtedly marketable and predictably flawed.

Page by page, young readers are guided through a sun salutation, one of the most recognizable sequences in contemporary Western yoga.

Hinder’s exuberant style radiates a color palette warm as the morning sun. Subtle details seem to shimmer on the page. The text opens with wonderful simplicity, providing movement instruction and inviting readers to notice what they experience. It quickly becomes overworked, however, abandoning simplicity in favor of forced rhyme. The text alone does little to explain the movements, and the accompanying images are problematic as models. Like many yoga-themed picture books published recently, this work falls prey to the trap of presenting yoga sequences that are recognizable to adults without adapting the poses for young bodies. The plank and knee-chest-chin poses depicted, for example, require an inappropriate degree of core strength for the target audience. The single child depicted is overtly feminine in appearance. A contemplative, closed-mouth smile graces a tan-skinned face framed by flowing dark hair. While this version of feminine serenity will certainly appeal widely to yoga teachers and practitioners, it simultaneously reinforces stereotypical notions that yoga is an activity for “girls”—one limited to a certain kind of girl at that. Chipper animals flock to the child at every turn; one nearly expects the cast of characters to burst into song. Backmatter presents the flow of the salutation and discusses both the practice and meditation.

The Disney-princess version of a yoga picture book; undoubtedly marketable and predictably flawed. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68364-283-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sounds True

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

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During a period of quarantine, people discover new ways to live—and new lessons about how to care for the planet—in this debut picture book.

In this work’s poem, O’Meara describes lockdowns experienced by many across the world during the first days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beginning with the title phrase, the author discusses quiet activities of solitude and togetherness as well as more boisterous ways of interacting. These times of being apart give people a new perspective, and when they reunite, “they grieved their losses, / and made new choices” to restore the planet. The spare verse allows the illustrations by Di Cristofaro and Pereda to take center stage. The colorful, slightly abstract cartoons depict a rainbow of people and pets, many of them living in apartments but some residing in larger, greener spaces. Images of nature healing show the author’s vision of hope for the future. While this was written in March and originally published as an online poem, the lack of an explicit mention of the reason behind the lockdowns (and the omission of the experiences of essential workers) could offer readers an opportunity to imagine a planetary healing beyond the pandemic that inspired the piece. The accessible prose and beautiful images make this a natural selection for young readers, but older ones may appreciate the work’s deeper meaning.

A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73476-178-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tra Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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