FICTION

Mop Rides the Waves of Life: A Story of Mindfulness and Surfing

Plum Blossom Bks. Jun. 2020. 40p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781946764607.
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PreS-Gr 2–Mop is a young kid with curly brown hair who loves to surf the ocean on his yellow surfboard. He also likes school, although sometimes things do not go well. After a troublesome week—Toby calls Mop a baby, so Mop pushes him into the sandbox, and Izzy makes fun of his hair, so Mop demolishes the block structure she is building—his mother teaches him to “surf life.” Yogis’s debut about a boy who is learning to control his “emotional waves” by breathing in and out mindfully is full of good will and good advice, but its first-person narration varies between one natural to Mop and another that veers into all-knowing adult. With a drawing of two-digit subtraction during math, the book seems aimed at second graders, while the emotional immaturity of the main character is far younger. Eloquent illustrations mix a palette of composite, neutral, secondary, and primary colors using different shades of blue as a common denominator throughout; these depict an inclusive school environment with a multiracial cast and a child in a wheelchair.
VERDICT Kindergarten story times will benefit from the focus on emotions and learning mindfulness, with the simple breathing exercises to help children discover how to navigate daily highs and lows.

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