Following on from ABC Yoga, Christine Engle has created an introduction to mindfulness for 3-6 year-olds. This colourful board book provides a lively introduction to emotional regulation and self-care. The text comprises of a series of short rhymes, structured around the alphabet. In some places the structure and verse flow fluently, and in some places they are less successful. This is an information book which can be used in two ways – you can read it in one go as a collection of rhymes exploring a theme, and you can also dip in and out of it as issues and needs arise. I can see the ‘Energy’ and ‘Feelings’ pages being of particular value, while ‘X marks the spot’ and ‘Zen’ pages perhaps less so. Engel provides a useful section for parents at the back with a brief explainer on the concept of mindfulness coupled with some suggested mindful practices for children.
Illustrations are upbeat, a naïve digital style involving collage and broad strokes that give a great sense of texture. There is a rich ethnic diversity in the illustrations of children that is regrettably absent in depictions of adults. This can be addressed by the reader using the book as a cue for a chat about race and representation in kids’ culture – by pointing out such omissions and considering what it feels like to be excluded – and by supplementing with books that depict children of colour with their parents, such as Gaia Cornwall’s Jabari Jumps, and Lizzy Stewart’s Juniper Jupiter.