Book Reviews: Enjoying a Healthy Summer

Looking for a healthy way for your baby to wind down before naps or bedtime? Be creative and try the basic yoga poses carefully depicted in Sleepy Little Yoga: A Toddler’s Sleepy Book of Yoga (Holt, $9.95; ages 1 to 5). After doing the Bat, the Bunny, the Bee Breath, and all nine poses, the gentle rhythms will lull anyone – even a parent – into relaxation mode. It’s written by Rebecca Whitford and illustrated by Martina Selway, the same team behind Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga.

“I had an idea to staple my brother’s hair to his pillow. I am not allowed to use the stapler anymore,” says the narrator of 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore (Schwartz & Wade/Random House, $15.99; ages 4 to 8). She’s beyond spunky. Her 17 deeds, all unhealthy to say the least, include walking backward to school and pretending her mother is her waitress. 

Author Jenny Offill portrays a creative, energetic rebel who does learn to say “sorry,” but not really – this isn’t a message book. Kids with well-developed consciences will be tickled by the sly humor and not take our ungainly heroine as a role model. Mixed-media art by Nancy Carpenter uses Photoshop and other effects for a uniquely sprawling look.

On a less humorous note, I Can Survive, written and illustrated by Jennifer May Allen, is for anyone dealing with a serious illness or other crisis (American Cancer Society, $14.95; ages 4 and up). Inspirational books sometimes lack text and art that matches the level of the worthy sentiments, but this one is filled with light, wisdom, wit and child-appeal: “I will always, each and every day, love to lick the brownie spoon.”

Next month: We’ll consider what to read after Harry Potter.

– Kathleen Krull