Fine for what it is; thankfully, young aspiring yogis have better options in this growing genre.

ANYTIME YOGA

FUN AND EASY EXERCISES FOR CONCENTRATION AND CALM

A slim child yogi named Kika and her monkey sidekick, Yazoo, introduce readers to 14 yoga poses and four guided meditations.

The book divides the poses by mood for quick access to suit distinct needs. The featured poses are age appropriate in terms of their blend of accessibility and challenge. Pose instructions are direct and succinct, with the accompanying illustration clearly depicting the end shape. The book concludes with notes for adults who may be assisting children in their practice. Varying privileges are assumed—for example, that readers will have access to a quiet space, a yoga mat, and adults able to assist them by reading the guided meditations aloud. No modifications are offered for varying body types or abilities. The inclusion of Yazoo, with his dark-brown and skin-smooth fur and large, white eyes, seems meant to be silly, but it’s at best unnecessary and borders on uncomfortable, particularly when there are comments made in the text such as the light-skinned Kika’s reference to him as “my little banana muncher.” Overall, the book fails to honor the intellect and curiosity of the independent readers who may be drawn to it and is too reduced to instruction for the very young who may enjoy playing with yoga through story.

Fine for what it is; thankfully, young aspiring yogis have better options in this growing genre. (Nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61180-439-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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

AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME

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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The many enchanting elements of dance and story in The Sleeping Beauty ballet come alive for young children.

BALLET SCHOOL

Read! Practice! Perform!

Three girls (Amirah, Violet, and Sahani) and two boys (Joonwon and Alejandro) take ballet class. They clearly demonstrate warm-up moves, basic feet and arm positions executed at the barre, and center-floor movements including jumps. Their facial expressions vary from happy to fretful. When they have performed their “reverence,” or bows, they are ready to move on to a performance of The Sleeping Beauty, a popular story ballet danced to a beautiful score by Tchaikovsky. Violet’s mom, a former dancer, enters to tell the children the story, and they act out the various roles, from the elegant Lilac Fairy to the evil Carabosse. Each role involves steps that they previously learned and very expressive facial and body emoting. Bouder is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and writes with enthusiasm and knowledge. The uncluttered cartoon illustrations are lively and colorfully detailed, depicting a multiracial cast (as hinted at by the children’s names). That Violet and her ex-professional mom are white somewhat undermines the egalitarian message. While it may prove challenging for readers to actually try the steps on their own, especially the jumps, they should enjoy practicing. When readers play the score (not included but readily available) in the background, correct ballet movement or simply expressive individual movements can result in a very enjoyable staging.

The many enchanting elements of dance and story in The Sleeping Beauty ballet come alive for young children. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5128-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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