KIDíS BOOK/VIDEOReviews
By Lyda Whiting




Our Community Garden
Written and Illustrated
By Barbara Pollak
A community garden can grow friendship and fun as well as food and flowers. In this colorful picture book, Audrey and her friends find out how different vegetables grow, and meet the insects that share their garden. While having fun getting dirty and playing together, children discover the cycle of life and the pleasures of growing your own food. When the harvest is done, they gather for a feast that celebrates the diverse cultural heritage in their city neighborhood.

Colorful illustrations bring the text to life. Done in a simple folk art style, the pictures will capture young imaginations as the gardeners play hide-and-seek among towering sunflowers and count insects as big as they are. A good choice for toddlers and early readers.
Published by Beyond Words Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore.

 

Professor Angelicus Visits The Big Blue Ball
By L.B.B. Ward
Illustrated By Coulter Watt
When an alien professor visits Earth, he takes two young friends and their dog on an amazing voyage of discovery. As they search the planet for pure water, the professor needs to return home, and the children learn about the delicate balance of life on our blue ball.

Helped in their quest by turkey buzzards, horseshoe crabs, and friendly humans, they find many beautiful spots as well as damaged areas. They work with frogs in the rainforest to put out a fire. A fisherman helps them save a dolphin from an old fishing net. A right whale leads them south, and an emperor penguin helps them locate pure water deep in the ice of Antarctica.

During their travels, the children discover how closely interwoven all life on Earth is. They also learn how to battle fear with positive thoughts and love in their hearts. Ultimately hopeful and refreshing, this book is suitable for ages 5-14.
Published by MumbleFish Books, this book is available at your local bookstore and at amazon.com



Yoga for the Classroom
ó A VIDEO
with Michele Bickley
Produced by MUV Dance and Yoga
This fun instructional video is a practical tool to help teachers incorporate yoga in the classroom. Filmed as short sections that can easily fit into the school day, the exercises can be done sitting in a chair or standing at a desk.

First students learn conscious breathing, stretching, and visualization techniques to help them focus and relax. The beginning sections would be useful before a test or after recess, to help the class concentrate. The rest of the video is energizing and yet controlled. One exercise includes reciting a poem together, and can be used at the start of the day to promote alertness and unity. Part of the video is energetic and can be used on rainy days, or when the class needs a bit of fun movement and exercise.

Dancing yoga poses at the end of the video are a fun way to activate the imagination through creative yoga play. The young dancing yogis make designs and shapes with movement, become different animals, and have fun exploring all they can do.

The children on this video do poses with varying degrees of precision, demonstrating that everyone is a yogi at heart, even when wobbling a bit. All of the exercises can be adapted to children of different skills and abilities. The video is designed to be a starting point for teachers, who can later create their own yoga routines for their classrooms using the exercises shown.

The video comes with a short guide to help teachers expand their classroom yoga program. While the children in the video are elementary age, this would be excellent for pre-school and kindergarten classes, as well as day care groups. This would be a fun way to introduce yoga to scout troops, campers, or just the gang at home. The short sections make it easy to tailor the video for individual needs.

Michele Bickley, a Yoga Works instructor and former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, is the co-founder of Muv Dance and Yoga, a Los Angeles-based creative movement education company. At the request of the teachers she has worked with, she developed this video as a way to help teachers and students remain calm, centered, and focused during the school day. It is her hope that this video will give teachers a peaceful solution to classroom management and inspire the use of creative movement to teach the academic curriculum.

The production quality, especially the sound, varies a bit. How-ever, the enthusiasm of Michele Bickley and the children overcomes these minor technical problems. This is not a slick commercial video, which makes it more accessible and friendly. Teachers and children will feel comfortable doing the exercises shown. This video is a great way for teachers and students to discover the endless benefits of yoga.
This video is now available at www.MoveDanceAndYoga.com 


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