A Friend for Yoga Bunny (Brian Russo)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Friend for Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo, a sweet and serene follow up to the author’s first Yoga Bunny story.

Bunny’s favorite way to start the morning is by doing yoga. Sometimes he’ll do it with his group of similarly yoga-inclined forest pals, but sometimes he’ll take the morning to practice alone – or, mostly alone! Opening his eyes during his leaf pose, he is surprised to find a bear hiding behind a tree nearby. He finds that the bear’s birthday is tomorrow, and she is nervous about the big party her family is throwing her (she doesn’t like being the center of attention). Bunny offers to instruct her in a few yoga poses, promising that they might help with her anxiety. The two practice their poses and have a few laughs, and Bunny invites her to join him and his friends the next day, even knowing she is nervous in groups. The next day dawns, and Bear is nowhere to be found; Bunny is disappointed. However, as he breathes through his morning routine with his friends, he may be surprised with how effective his gesture of friendship (and yoga) has been.

Lovely! Russo has created a new story with his gentle, yoga-loving bunny character that explores themes of kindness, courage, and yes, yoga. A story centered around yoga’s ability to help with anxieties is reminiscent of the first Yoga Bunny, but this time Bunny plays a less passive role in helping his new friend by proactively reaching out to Bear to show kindness and acceptance, and it works all the better. The digital illustrations are suitably soft-edged and calming, and the character design is rudimentary, but still very adorable; Yoga Bunny showing off different labeled yoga poses on the endpapers – a element continued from the first book – is particularly fun. The length is perfect for a quick storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it, especially a cute “yoga poses with accompanying animal sounds” moment. Overall, a very enjoyable read, and we absolutely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Yoga Frog (Nora Carpenter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Yoga Frog, written by Nora Carpenter and illustrated by Mark Chambers, a wonderful introduction to yoga from a very flexible frog.

Just like you, Yoga Frog can sometimes feel stressed, or anxious, or just plain yucky. But when he’s feeling this way, he likes to practice his yoga poses, and he invites to you join in. Moving through eighteen different poses from Mountain to Resting, Yoga Frog shows how the readers should position themselves, sometimes making notes about the intention or goal of the pose. After he’s moved through his session, Yoga Frog feels much better – and hopes you do too!

Very cute! There’s a lot to like from this yoga primer, especially the clear yet charming demonstrative illustrations, the text that helps connect little bodies and minds to the poses, and the inclusion of the Sanskrit translations of every pose. As in other kids’ yoga books, the decision was made to change the names of some of the poses (Warrior becomes Giraffe, Child’s Pose is called Hawk In Nest, etc.). It’s kind of an odd choice, especially because it was done for so many poses here, and might turn off readers looking for more accuracy. However, if the idea is simply to start teaching wiggly little bodies to calm and center themselves, this is a great book to start with. The illustrations are fun, JJ loved the little frog, and the length was easily read through in a sitting. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Yawning Yoga (Laurie Jordan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Yawning Yoga, written by Laurie Jordan and illustrated by Diana Mayo, a fantastic instructional yoga picture book for children.

Yawning Yoga is a wonderful way for busy little bodies to wind down their days; it can help you quiet your mind, relax your body, and prepare yourself for restful sleep. On each page of Yawning Yoga, a different pose or technique is explained, introduced with a sweet poem, then detailed in simple, fun instructions and lovingly detailed and lively art. Children can learn the Mountain, the Bedtime Bug, and the Dog-Tired Down Dog, among other poses and breathing exercises to help them focus their energy and calm their bodies.

Wonderful! We’ve read a few yoga books for this blog (despite not being a yoga-practicing family!), but this one is by far my favorite. Every detail, from giving the poses fun and sometimes unique names, to the poems that give them personality and allow children to contextualize them, to the clear and kid-friendly language of the instructions, to the playfully colorful illustrations, all is conducive to helping beginners (both young and older) learn yoga. The art is especially lovely, featuring a multicultural cast of children making each pose their own while helping to show them to the reader, and surrounded by fantasy elements that bring heaps of whimsy to each spread. If you’re just reading through (as we did), it’s a fine length for any bookworm, and JJ adored the art. This is a great one, especially if you’re looking to integrate yoga into a family bedtime routine. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Yoga Bunny (Brian Russo)

Hello, everybody! Today’s book is Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo, a sweet book about a bunny teaching his friends patience and calm through yoga.

It’s a beautiful day outside, and Bunny is going to spend it doing some yoga. As he begins practicing his poses, a few of his friends stop by to see what he is doing. Bunny invites them to join him, but each refuses: Lizard is tired and cranky, Fox is rushed and flustered, and Bird has terrible hiccups. Bunny is disappointed; he wishes his friends would try yoga, as they might find that its practice could help with their problems. Will they ever give it a try? Will Bunny ever find someone to share his love of yoga with?

This was another very calming children’s book about yoga, and in most places, it hit the mark. It introduces a few basic poses within the story (downward dog, sun, tree), with more examples on the inside covers. Unlike I Am Yoga, this is more a linear story about the benefits of yoga than its actual practice, stressing its abilities to soothe, calm, and focus the practitioner. The art was cute yet calming, and the length was nice. Only one problem: JJ was just not into it. The story seemed to be paced a bit slow for her, and she quickly grew disinterested, even in pointing out the different animal species. This one may be more appropriate for slightly older readers, but more so, for children more familiar and/or invested in yoga. Still, overall it was a nice, soothing book with some adorable illustrations, so we’re still calling this one Baby Bookworm approved.

I Am Yoga (Susan Verde)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Yoga, written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, a children’s introductory guide to yoga poses and a story about the benefits of calm mindfulness in one.

A little girl confesses that sometimes, the world seems too big. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where she fits in, or everything moves so fast that it’s hard to keep up. So when she feels this way, she tries to quiet her mind, relax her body, and open her heart. Then, she is yoga. In her yoga poses, she can be tall as a tree, or free as a bird, or strong as a warrior. She can be beautiful like a flower, shine like a star, or just relax and be. And when her yoga is done, the world is a much more manageable size, and moves at a much easier pace, for her mind and body are quiet and peaceful again.

Honestly, I hesitated before picking this book because no one in our family has really practiced yoga before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, this story was a very pleasant surprise! Simple, meditative texts that explore concepts like mindfulness, self-awareness, and calming one’s mind and body (not a bad lesson for hyper-wiggly little ones) are combined with very lovely illustrations that incorporate each pose with the feeling and/or object it is meant to represent. For instance, being in a row of trees in tree pose, or flying through the sky in crane. The result is a lovely, soothing book with gorgeous visuals and a calming effect. The length was perfect, and JJ really loved it. Overall, a fantastic book for anyone, be they practiced yogi or the completely uninitiated. Baby Bookworm approved!