________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 15 . . . . December 9, 2011


What I See, I Can Be: A Guided Yoga Flow for Children.

Janet Williams. Illustrated by Korey McCumber & Mark Stanleigh.
Mississauga, ON: Light Communications Press, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, (Audio CD included), $25.99.
ISBN 978-0-9810902-1-4.

Subject Heading:
Hatha yoga-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4



What I See, I Can Be. I see a Cobra. I can be a Cobra, majestic and strong.

I lie on my stomach and make myself long by bringing my feet and knees close together. I place my hands on the earth under my shoulders. I touch the ground very gently with my forehead, and then my nose, and then my chin.

I come up slowly like a majestic cobra.

When my head is all the way up, I flicker my snake tongue very quickly.

I am a Cobra.

Then, I slowly lower my head and gently touch my chin to the earth, and then my nose, and then my forehead.

I make a pillow with my hands and rest my head and I breathe.

Described by the author as a “ ‘how to’ Yoga book for children with a storybook twist”, What I See, I Can Be helps teachers, daycare workers and parents to guide young children through a standard yoga workout of 13 different poses- Mountain, Tree, Kite, Dog, Cat, Mouse, Cobra, Boat, Bridge, Bow and Arrow, Tortoise, Oyster and Meadow. The workout is low impact, suited to all physical ability levels, and helps participants to gain flexibility, coordination and fitness. No equipment is required, and poses can be performed almost anywhere- in a gym, in the classroom, at home and outdoors. If done in a classroom, the workout not only can serve to help kids unwind after a period of activity or excitement (teachers know what kids can be like in December, just before the Christmas vacation), but it can also be a part of a daily physical education program, one advantage being that there is no equipment setup needed. Parents can also use the workout to calm their children before bedtime.

internal art

      Each of the yoga poses or stretches is presented on a double-page spread. The left hand page shows a scene for a child to imagine, and the right hand page shows two children, a boy and a girl, demonstrating the pose. For instance, when featuring the Oyster, the left hand page shows the children looking for oyster shells along the beach while, on the right hand page, the girl demonstrates one part of the pose and the boy demonstrates the other. The text runs along the bottom of the page on a white background.

     Illustrations, rendered primarily in blue, green, brown, red, yellow and white, are cartoon-like and rather flat and unappealing. Little fairies appear on almost all of the double-page spreads, perhaps to encourage children to use their imaginations.

      What I See, I Can Be also includes an audio CD that consists of an intro and the narration of the instructions for the 13 poses (read slowly, verbatim, from the text), accompanied by lovely, soothing background music. An 11-minute relaxation track follows next. This track’s beautiful, gentle instrumental music is calming and inspires the imagination. Total running time is just over 32 minutes. With the audio CD, the teacher or parent would have to participate along with the child the first few times until the child becomes used to the poses and to listening for the steps.

      A family of related products is available through the web site at www.ChildrensYogaBooks.com. There is an identical book with a DVD (instead of a CD), a poster showing the various yoga poses, a book of teacher resource materials and a coloring and activity book.

Though the price of What I See, I Can Be is a bit steep, it is a good beginning yoga book for young children.


Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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