Sujean Rim, Take a Breath, Allen & Unwin, April 2022, 40 pp., RRP $34.25 (hbk), ISBN 9781534492530
Bob is a bird. And he can’t fly. But that’s ok; he knows that sometimes, these things tke time.
Every morning, when the other birds head out on their first flight of the day, Bob keeps himself busy on the ground. He makes friends, discovers new things, and always practices his flying. He’s doing ok.
Until he isn’t.
Bob starts having some very big feelings about this whole flying business. Because it’s not fair – he’s the only bird who can’t fly! What if he never figures out how to fly?
With the help of a kindly crow, Bob learns a trick to help keep calm and be mindful. All he has to do is take a breath.
With Bob being such a lovely character, there are so many sweet little moments peppered throughout the book, such as a montage of Bob’s attempts to catapult himself into the air and a wholesome conversation with a worm about the merits of being covered in feathers. But Take a Breath by Sujean Rim is so much more than the beautiful story of Bob the bird. It is a gentle lesson for young children on how to handle their big feelings. Sometimes, life gets frustrating, but Bob’s story reminds children to stop, breathe and stretch.
There is a lot to unpack in this book. Anxious children or those who struggle with aggression can be taken under Crow’s wing alongside Bob to learn some breathing exercises to help them keep calm in tough situations. Admittedly, the second half of the book reads more like a step-by-step instructional on how to breathe mindfully, which doesn’t flow as smoothly as the first half of the book. But we’re already so enamoured of Bob and his tale that it doesn’t matter. The wonderful thing is that parents of carers can easily encourage small children to try the exercises along with Bob, stretching their wings and shaking out their feathers just like the bird.
Take a Breath will make an excellent addition to any classroom library, and parents of anxious children would be wise to get their hands on a copy.
Reviewed by Geni Kuckhahn