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

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 solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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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