The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath by Susan Verde

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath

Susan Verde, Author

Jay Fleck, Illustrator

Abrams Books for young Readers, Fiction, May 5, 2020

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Anger, Worry, Wolf, Pigs, Fairy Tale, Yoga, Breathing

Opening: “Once Upon a time, there was a wolf who lost his huff and his puff. As you might imagine, this was a problem for the wolf…a BIG, BAD problem.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Once upon a time there lived a wolf who lost his huff and his puff. It was a BIG, BAD problem!

One morning, the wolf came upon a peaceful little yogi doing sun salutations. The wolf wanted to huff and puff and blooow her hut down into a big pile of straw. But instead the yogi suggested, “Let’s meditate on that!”

Soon the wolf met a second yogi, and then a third. He may have lost his huff and puff—but with the help of three new yogi friends, can the wolf find his breath?

The calming spin on a classic fairy tale helps little wolves everywhere learn just what to do when they feel like huffing and puffing.

This is Book 1 in the Feel-Good Fairy Tales series introduces a calming spin on a classic from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Verde.

Why I like this book:

Susan Verde provides a modern twist on this beloved fairy tale. Children will identify with and empathize with the wolf’s fear and anger. It’s interferring with his “huff and puff.” Little wolf can’t breath because he’s so wound up and tense inside. Enter the three little pigs, who are master yogis.

There is a gentle flow to Verde’s sparse text. Jay Fleck’s striking digital illustrations are colorful and soothing.  Readers will experience their calming impact as they turn the pages.  They will learn yoga poses along with the wolf. Lovely collaboration.

This is a great classroom read-aloud. Teaching children to help calm themselves through yoga and deep breathing will give them them a wonderful coping tools for life. I am delighted that there are many more books available on yoga, which is a simple everyday practice at school or home.

Resources: There is an Author’s Note at the end of the book with tips for teachers and parents on how to teach children breathing exercises and detailed yoga poses that will help them feel better.

Susan Verde is the author of the instant #1 New York Times bestseller I am Human. Her books include The Museum, You and Me, I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Love, My Kicks, The Water Princess, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul. In addition to writing books, she is a certified yoga and mindfulness instructor for kids of all ages. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her three children, a cat, a dog, and a tarantula. Follow Susan Verder online.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

Princess Rosie’s Rainbows by Bette Killion

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Bette Killion, Author

Kim Jacobs, Illustrator

Wisdom Tales, Fiction, Oct. 7, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Fairy Tales, Princesses, Happiness, Rainbows

Opening: “Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom there lived a loving King and Queen. They ruled in a magical land where rainbows stretched from peak to ocean. Each day they wished for a child to share their castle.”

Synopsis: On the day the princess was born, a full rainbow spanned the kingdom. The King and Queen named their daughter the Princess of Rose-colored Light. But everyone called her Princess Rosie. She grew up loving rainbows and was happiest when they appeared in the sky. On the days no rainbows appeared, her smile turned into a frown and she felt sad. Princess Rosie had everything she could ever want — a dog, books, music, toys and games — but what she really wanted was a forever rainbow. Her father offered his people a bag of gold if anyone could bring the princess a forever rainbow. Visitors from other lands traveled to the castle with rainbows made of silk, glass, and jewels. Some were pictures in books, banners you could wave and food you could eat.  But Princess Rosie wanted a real rainbow. Her parents wondered if their daughter would ever be happy again. One day a wise woman from the farthest village arrived to talk with the princess. Perhaps she held the secret to making Rosie smile again.

Why I like this book:

Bette Killion’s original fairy tale is a captivating read at bedtime. It will engage children as they try to figure out what is a forever rainbow and what will make Princess Rosie happy if the royal riches don’t make her smile. This beautiful tale packs a powerful message for children about the source of true and lasting happiness lies within. This is an important lesson for children to learn at a young age. The text is written in prose and children will find the language appealing in this memorable tale.

You can tell by the book cover that Kim Jacobs’ illustrations are stunning and magical. Each illustration is intricately detailed and will whisk children’s imaginations to another period in time. The soft, warm pastels compliment the story. This is a beautiful collaboration between author and illustrator.

Resources: Have a discussion with children about what makes them happy. Is it something that is material and they will tire of or is something uniquely special that makes them feel warm inside and last forever. There is a simple science lesson at the end of the book about rainbows and how to make your own rainbow.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

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Jewel Kats, Author

Claudia Marie Lenart, Illustrator

Loving Healing Press, Fiction, Oct. 10, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 3-7

Themes: Down syndrome, Fairy tale, Special needs

Opening: “One fateful night, a storm ripped through Cottage Country…The rain finally stopped pouring days and days later. Cottage Country was deserted. The only people left were the fisherman and his family.”

Synopsis: A storm sweeps through a village and a fisherman and his two children, Hansel and Gretel, are the only survivors. Their food runs out and Hansel and Gretel are sent to search for food in the forest. Their mother protests that Hansel is sick and too young for such an adventure. But, Hansel’s father disagrees and says he has Down syndrome and that they can’t always protect him forever.  Hansel takes the lead and bravely runs into the forest and stumbles upon the witch’s candy house.  Will Hansel be able to outwit and negotiate with the witch?

Why I like about this book:

  • Jewel Kats retells this magical story with the main character, Hansel, who has Down syndrome — a different ability.
  • It is the perfect read for World Down Syndrome Day, March 21.
  • This book will help readers look beyond disabilities and see Hansel as a clever, capable, determined and successful hero, who faces the witch with wit and kindness.
  • The story breaks stereotypes and touches on prejudices about what a child with a disability can achieve. And there is an unexpected twist with the witch, who also shouldn’t be judged by her appearance.
  • Claudia Lenart’s illustrations are breathtaking, whimsical, and contribute to the book’s appeal. Lenart is a fiber artist who pokes wool and other natural fibers, like alpaca, with a barbed needle to sculpt her soft characters and scenes.  This is the perfect medium for a fairy tale.

Resources: Check out the website for World Down Syndrome Day, where you can find information, personal stories, worldwide events and how to participate. And visit Jewel Kats and Claudia Marie Lenart at their websites.