Slowly Slowly

Atheneum. Sept. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665917186.
PreS-Gr 1–With a few carefully chosen words and images, Yuly fashions a delicate paean to nature and mindfulness. “When you slow down…/ you see more,” whisper the inviting first lines, as a child frolics outdoors with a beloved pet dog. And slow down they do, taking delight in small things they might otherwise have missed: a snail climbing a blade of grass, a scatter of blooming flowers, turtles sunning on a pond rock. The minimalist style and composition of the hazy, soft-textured art (a combination of chalk pastel, cut paper, and digital collage) winningly reflect the book’s philosophy of stripped-down simplicity. Moreover, most of the spreads maintain a single, fixed perspective—the limb of a persimmon tree. From this high vantage point, page turns mirror the passage of the seasons, foregrounding little changes (a spider spins a web, a caterpillar pupates, a bird builds a nest) as the text hypnotically repeats, “slowly…slowly…slowly.” Down below, a new house is constructed and sold to a family, and soon the child has a new young friend with whom to slow down and watch the sun set behind the fruiting persimmon branches. The easy joy in their connection to the natural world serves as a quietly graceful closing statement.
VERDICT An appealing purchase for all collections, with plenty of details to inspire conversation and reward multiple read-throughs.

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