Even the most yoga-enthused readers may find this title pretentious and off-putting.

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THE THREE LITTLE YOGIS AND THE WOLF WHO LOST HIS BREATH

A FAIRY TALE TO HELP YOU FEEL BETTER

This wolf huffs and puffs whenever he is angry, simply because he doesn’t know what else to do with his anger.

But now he has a problem: He has lost his huff and puff. One day when in a cranky mood he encounters a peaceful-looking pig practicing yoga. Much as he wants “to huff and puff and blow down” the pig’s straw house, he cannot. The pig yogi—a caricatured stereotype of all things yoga—oozes compassion for her natural competitor; suggests they “meditate on that” when he explains his dilemma (which is, of course, that he can’t blow down her house); and teaches him belly breathing. When this isn’t enough to fully squelch the wolf’s urge to huff and puff, they go off to another yoga-practicing pig’s home for more meditation and breathing until they finally wind up at a brick yoga studio. It’s surprising to see such a flawed treatment from the author of I Am Yoga and I Am Peace (2015 and 2017; both illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds). The tone is surprisingly elitist, suggesting that those who don’t know how to breathe away their anger just need to be enlightened by yoga. The illustrations further propagate this trope with their stark contrast between the villainous wolf and the serene pigs. The only bright spot is the inclusion of a nonbinary pig, who’s referenced using the singular “they.”

Even the most yoga-enthused readers may find this title pretentious and off-putting. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4103-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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