Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, May 4, 2012


Sometimes Xena and I walk early in the dark before dawn, no birdsong breaking through the silence.  When the first clear note trills announcing the arrival of the sun we simultaneously pause in reverence to welcome a new day.  Namaste is a gesture used in greeting or departure; palms placed together over the heart chakra fingers pointing upward, eyes closed as the head is bowed.

Author/illustrator Taeeun Yoo begins You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses (Nancy Paulsen Books, March 15, 2012) with the following four lines incorporating this restful acknowledgment; this act of respect.

When the golden sun rises
Warm rays fill the garden
Children all gather
Namaste to the morning

Barefoot boys and girls assume various stances, standing, kneeling or sitting, spread about the grass in a clearing surrounded by flowers, bushes and trees. 

In the subsequent pages each of the six children follow the narrative instructions assuming a yoga pose. 

With feet flat
Bend and touch ground
Bottom up!
You are a...

Readers can guess what animal is being imitated before turning the page.  Each revealed answer is accompanied by a brief three line verse, three, four or five syllables each, inviting them to roar like a lion, flutter like a butterfly, or

Stretch in the sun
Bark at your friend
Ready for fun

In the final pose all the youngsters join together creating an ageless symbol of strength.  Closing pages show the original glade with the girls and boys lying on their backs, legs and arms stretched out, palms facing upward, eyes closed.  Sun in the sky, the day begins, peaceful and at rest.

Using linoleum block prints, pencil drawings and Photoshop Taeeun Yoo brings a sense of balance and playfulness to her illustrations.  Pale mint green endpapers are covered in turquoise outlines of the posed girls and boys.  Bright, leaning to more natural hues, softly-colored, two-page spreads precede two single pages, a child centered among white space demonstrating a given posture.

The eager innocence of her children and their animal counterparts are brimming with life and happiness. When the children are shown with the animals it is in their habitats, a meadow covered with daisies, rain splashing on the lily-pads in a pond or along a tree limb beneath a full moon.  Each of the animals are shown again with their children in the illustration of the last pose giving a feeling of unity. 

Young or young at heart You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses written and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo is a delightful, entertaining guide for beginners.  Readers will be unable to resist the temptation to try each and every one as soon as possible.

Please follow the links attached to Taeeun Yoo's name to access her website and blog.  Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast highlights Taeeun Yoo in an interview.

In 2010 Taeeun Yoo received the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Excellence in Children's Literature.  This award is given to new authors and illustrators.  Her illustrations were for the title, Only a Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee.

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