This picture book is part of a series called A Mindfully Me Story, inspired by the Play School TV show, written by Jan Stradling a former Executive Producer of the Play School TV programme, with suitably gentle illustrations by Australian author and illustrator, Jedda Robaard. Other books in this excellent series include Ready Set, Big School, and Beginnings and Endings, both reviewed in StoryLinks.
Breathe In and Out focuses on some of the challenges young children may encounter in dealing with strong and unfamiliar emotions. With the help of Play School toys, Jemima, Kiya, Big Ted, Little Ted and Humpty, the books offer some reassuring coping strategies and support.
Big Ted doesn’t want to play with the other toys, because his mind feels stormy and moody, like its full of dark clouds before the rain comes. He soon discovers that the other toys care about him and offer some mindful ways to help soothe Big Ted. Little Ted suggests building a cubby, Kiya shows Ted a picture of a calm and peaceful sea, Jemima offers to play her guitar and Humpty brings out his special gift, a glitter jar. Soon, Big Ted feels calmer and is ready to play.
The watercolour illustrations are soft and gentle for the younger reader who may experience these emotions. The toys are recognisable with clever subtle changes in facial expressions and body movement. The text includes the dialogue between the toys as well as highlighting some salient coping words.
For parents, carers, educators, and children ages 3 to 6, this is a useful resource for teaching mindfulness activities, self-regulation, and management of emotions, with additional sensory activities on the back page of the book.