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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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall. (. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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