Animal Antics: Focus and fun for little ones – Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Rocío Alejandro, Barefoot Books,9781782859833, 2020
Rest & Relax: Sleepy time for little ones – Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Rocío Alejandro, Barefoot Books, 9781782859352, 2020
Format: PDF Review Copy (Board Book available April, 2020)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? Both of these books are part of the “Mindfulness Tots” series that has been written by Whitney Stewart. In addition to being an author, Stewart also teaches mindful classes to children and their families. On her website, she states mindfulness as “paying attention, on purpose, to what’s happening right now, without judging things as good or bad. In mindfulness practice, you become curious about your experiences in a friendly way. You notice the details of whatever is happening through present-moment awareness.”
Animal Antics is almost like a combination exercise/yoga class for young children. The book leads children through a series of stretching and soft movement activities that mimic the movement of animals. This includes bending forward like an elephant swinging its trunk in the grass, hopping like frogs from one lily pad to another, stretching and curling your back like a cat, and then ending all these activities by sitting peacefully. For yoga fans, I see bits of Child’s Pose, Doward-Facing Dog, Garland Pose, forward bends, and just simply sitting quietly and breathing deeply.
Rest and Relax is designed to help children calm their bodies before naptime or bedtime. This book takes children through a series of small exercises that help them become aware of and move different parts of their body, but then also has them put that body part to rest. Children start by wiggling their toes and then they stop. Next, they straighten and stretch their knees and then they let them relax. Similar movements continue with tummy, hands, arms, shoulders, until children are told to just close their eyes and quietly breath.
Both books feature colorful illustrations by Rocío Alejandro that include a diverse group of young children with different skin tones and physical features, including physical disabilities. Even a guide dog gets in on all the activities.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of two and five years old. It is a great book for children who love to participate in a story reading–making sounds or doing activities as the book is read.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of two and five years old.
Where would you shelve it? Board Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, I think both would be great for story time activities with a preschool group. Animal Antics would be a great little book to get the wiggles out before beginning a story time with a group of young children. I would also recommend other “Mindful Tots” books including Tummy Ride and Loving Kindness, Happy Feelings for Little Ones (both published in 2019).
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: April 29, 2020
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