Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: October Picture Books from Candlewick Press

A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett Art by Shawn Harris

This is a simply beautiful book. I adore the eye-catching torn-paper illustrations and the white-on-white, with bursts of oceanic blue, of the images inviting us into the depths of the life of a polar bear. The accompanying narration compels us to follow the bear across the frozen tundra and into the deep blue sea, leaving much space for wonder and creative thought. The text and illustrations work perfectly together in this picture book about a loveable polar bear and each question is answered by a beautifully accompanying illustration that is so soothing and interesting. This is an early book about science and animals that will fascinate the youngest child. 

In The Half Room by Carson Ellis

Illumination is at the heart of this story and how a moon lights a room and at times how everything seems to only be a series of halves. It is quirky and at the first pass through might seem “disconnected” but by allowing the imagination to fill in the dark spots, we can see the mystery revealed. A child, who does not know the phases of the moon, might not understand why they only see half a moon, half a table or half a cat so they will explore this option with glee and curtiosity. It is very crafty and is a book about halves and wholes that allows the imagination to explore what the eyes are seeing. The surreal artwork lends a touch of fantasy to the story and brings to mind some of the great surreal art by the likes of Dali, Picasso and Arp. This is a slyly sophisticated book, take a look! 

Julián At The Wedding by Jessica Love

Jessica Love is back with another endearing tale of love, acceptance and joie de vivre. The art is dreamy and utterly charming. I love Julián’s purple suit with the skirted back and even the way “typical” roles are reversed. Here we see the sympathetic boy coming to the rescue of a girl who just likes to get dirty. Julián’s grandma is all in this time. There is nothing but a pure example of letting everyone be happy with their own self-expression. This book is a testament to love, friendship, acceptance and self-identity offering even a young child into a world where everyone is loved and has a place.  

Rain Before rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls Art by David Litchfield

This book is breathtaking with every beautifully written word and accompanying illustration. This is a story of hope, personal growth and intention; the real sense that life can get better propels it forward. Each page is filled with richly colored fantastical scenes that will keep you mesmerized while the perfectly-paced story shimmers with promise and resilience. The little girl along with her trusty fox companion embark on a journey which parallels life’s ups and downs, yet offers a sense of hope that there is a beautiful rainbow just around the corner. I absolutely adore this book. It is a ray of sunshine for anyone stuck out in the rain.

The Boy and the Gorilla by Jackie Azúa Kramer Art by Cindy Derby

This story is profound. I cannot even imagine having to share this  book with a child who has lost a mother-it is heartbreaking-I had tears in my eyes as I read it. This book does a fantastic job of creating a safe place for a child to mourn. Questions are asked and pondered, pain is held in a safe container and the quietly thoughtful text pairs perfectly with the expressive illustrations. This heavy topic is presented in a loving way by using a non-threatening sentient being that is able to envelope the child’s sadness in its large furry arms and is able to answer the most unanswerable questions from deep in its heart. A tear-jerker but one of the most loving books out there on this topic.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Two beautiful winter themed picture books from Candlewick Press

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This is a wonderful seasonal book for preschool aged children that does not contain a holiday theme but instead is based on the time-honored winter pastime of skating on a frozen pond. The rhythmic flow is smooth and hidden in plain site is a lovely book about trying new things, learning that falling down is part of the learning process and that being active is a wonderful way to spend time as a family. Extra kudos for the sweet pencil and watercolor illustrations.

This will pair well with a youth yoga class to prepare the body for skating-figure skating, hockey, speed skating- so many options. Lots of fun balances and even some partner poses! Practicing yoga in a classroom and doing partner and whole group poses is a great way to build community and help harmonize the group energy.

 

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I love the color palette for these nostalgic gauche painted illustrations which perfectly compliment the poem that accompanies John Langstaff’s Christmas Revels. Right off the bat, the cover lures you into the book with the with the fiery orange and yellow hues surging out from the surrounding pitch black. This is a holiday book that takes the reader back to earlier times. It ties together the many diverse celebrations of winter with festive tree and candle lighting to the rituals of the solstice in winter, a time of year when light dims early and people feared the impending darkness and wanted to encourage the light to come back. The poem highlights the many similarities of our winter celebrations across the world-removing religion and replacing it with a history of the earth, discovery and the celebration of life. We are not so different is a resounding message.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.