Elem. – The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath

Verde, Susan. The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020. $16.99. 978-1-419-74103-6. Grades K-3. 

In this fractured fairy tale, the wolf has a habit of huffing, puffing, and blowing things down when he feels angry. Before long, the wolf realizes he feels worse when he sees how his behavior frightens others. There are so many things to huff about like sharing, trying difficult things and feeling hungry that the wolf runs out of breath. Turning his frustrations toward the three little yogis, he is met with compassion. Instead of running away, they teach him to mediate, breath, and pose. Readers are reminded that everyone gets angry sometimes. Belly breathing, butterfly breaths and supported breathing techniques help the wolf finally feel relaxed. Common terminology from sun salutation to savasana is introduced. A few yoga poses such as downward dog and half-moon are sprinkled throughout. Social emotional learning themes are present as the wolf becomes aware of his behaviors, reflects on his feelings and practices new techniques in lieu of huffing and puffing. Pencil and digitally colored illustrations fill the pages with a healthy dose of tranquil whimsy. Backmatter includes a few brief but useful tips for budding yogis.

THOUGHTS: This book is a must-have for libraries looking to develop their lower elementary collection of books about breathing, meditation, and yoga. A great picture book to pair with an interactive yoga storytime for young learners.

Picture Book          Jackie Fulton, Mt. Lebanon SD

Elem. – Arlo: The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep

Rayner, Catherine. Arlo: The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep. Peachtree, 2020. $17.99. 978-1-682-63222-2. 32 p. Grades K-2. 

Everyone knows that lions need a lot of sleep. Exhausted Arlo the lion searched high and low for a good place to sleep, but all he finds are faults. “The grass was too prickly and the earth was too hard” while the “sun is too hot and the night is too cold.” Nearing desperation, Arlo encounters an owl who shares her secret song for sleeping through the daytime with less than perfect conditions. Before long, Arlo is using the song to calm his mind and body to fall asleep. Feeling fully rested Arlo is excited to share with his friends whom he awakens in his excitement. Thus, the story repeats for two cycles as the lion helps his friends perfect the technique until everyone is sound asleep. Brief, repetitive text is spread sparsely over the soothing mixed media artwork featuring watercolor, screenprint, acrylic ink, and pencil allowing readers to become absorbed in the mindful message and find stillness.

THOUGHTS: A nice gentle storybook featuring elements of meditation and mindfulness for children. Delightful as a stand-alone story or a good introduction to a breathing, meditation, and mindfulness lesson.

Picture Book          Jackie Fulton, Mt. Lebanon SD