A peaceful book of mindfulness exercises.

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MINDFUL WONDERS

A BOOK ABOUT MINDFULNESS USING THE WONDERS OF NATURE

Children in relaxed postures take inspiration from the natural world in this guided meditation book for young readers.

Opening with the question, “What is meditation and mindfulness?” the narrator guides readers through breath exercises and nature visualizations. The exploration begins in orbit, where the reader is said to be “beautiful like the earth,” then settles into more grounded locales, such as a beach, mountains, a forest, and near a waterfall. Like these elements of nature, readers are invited to feel calm, mighty, and alive. The narrator also invokes the sun at different times of day, rain, and a rainbow, again emphasizing qualities that readers share with each natural feature. Each page offers a short description, a guided breath (“Inhale the beauty. Exhale”), and the recurring line, “Just breathe….” Zivkov’s gentle text offers straightforward, short sentences with vivid terminology (visualize, limitless, soaring) that will challenge and empower independent readers. The work is best suited as a read-aloud, with its dreamy cadence encouraging readers to focus on their breath as they listen. Kasha’s pleasing watercolor-and-ink illustrations show a single child on each page, frequently relaxing in a cross-legged position but sometimes reaching to the sky or standing on one leg. The children are wonderfully diverse, enabling many different readers to see themselves in these pages.

A peaceful book of mindfulness exercises.

Pub Date: April 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-67378-3

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Mindful Wonders, LLC

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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