This how-to board book coaches toddlers on the methodology of deep breathing.
Using a meditative, repetitive style, an omniscient narrator obliquely explains the process of feeling and controlling one’s breath, a process readers learn “helps you rest.” Initially the instructions, such as placing hands on one’s tummy to feel it moving up and down, are quite clear. However, the directions become harder to follow as the metaphor grows more protracted and abstract, comparing breathing to an “ocean wave” that becomes a “smooth wave” with deep breaths, though patient adult caregivers will probably be able to help young charges bridge this gap. Good-natured, colorful art features diverse adults and children who adequately model the instructions, though the roughly drawn faces with triangular noses and loud, red-circle cheeks on oversized heads look a little peculiar. Companion text Loving Kindness, a meditation dedicated to building empathy and other “happy feelings for little ones,” is filled with sweet scenes between family members and affirmations such as “use gentle hands when you play. You can share happiness.” An earnest reading of these purposeful instructions will feel natural to some but corny to others.
Not to everyone’s taste, but those searching for ways to explain and explore mindfulness with little people will be pleased. (Board book. 2-5)