Reviews for Babar's Yoga for Elephants


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 October 2002
Gr. 2-4. Although this new Babar book is nonfiction, it has more in common with the 1930s stories about the elephant than with some of the more recent additions to Babar's legacy. Archaeologists in Celesteville have determined that elephants invented yoga, and the discovery begins a yoga craze. Most of the book consists of Babar's step-by-step descriptions and demonstrations of yoga poses. A brief note in tiny print placed at the back of the book explains that the exercises are "intended for elephants" and that humans should consult other books and see a doctor before beginning practice. Unfortunately, the message is destined to go unnoticed by children, who will probably want to dive right in and try the positions, some of which (like a headstand) are inappropriate for unsupervised kids. A clearer more prominently placed note should have been included. That said, recommend this with reservations: it's a fun introduction to a subject not often treated in picture books, but it's best used when an adult is nearby. A pull-out poster is included. ((Reviewed October 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Spring
This yoga primer, narrated by the king himself and ostensibly written for elephants, capably introduces some basic poses and stretches. In the second half, Babar talks about yoga in Celesteville and around the world: ""We did Downward-Facing Dog in front of the Louvre museum."" The picture book format and familiar characters will appeal more to younger children. The book's intended audience of independent readers may find the detailed text daunting. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 August #2
Babar narrates this lighthearted guide to yoga for pachyderms (and people). He begins by explaining that archeologists working in a cave near Celesteville recently discovered ancient drawings revealing that woolly mammoths not only practiced yoga they invented it. Since then, yoga has become "tremendously popular" in Babar's hometown; it "helps us all to relax and draw strength from our inner elephant." In straightforward prose, this thoroughly relaxed elephant outlines yoga movements, stretches and exercises to improve balance and to strengthen the back and stomach. (Yoga lovers will recognize his opening Salutation to the Sun, and all that follow, as the real McCoy.) Though these instructions include playful touches (at one point Babar notes, "I find wrapping my trunk around my feet helps to stretch"), aspiring yoga practitioners can easily follow de Brunhoff's directives and imitate the movements in his signature watercolor renderings of the earnest narrator. A comical concluding sequence of pages shows Babar and pals putting their yoga positions to the test as they stretch in the airport during a delay, relax on the median at Times Square or imitate landmarks (e.g., a Head Stand in the Place de la Concorde next to the obelisk; a Standing Head to Knee in Venice's Piazza San Marco). This diverting volume conveys de Brunhoff's passion for his subject both the star and his practice. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 September #2
Childhood fans of Jean de Brunhoff's Babar the Elephant stories and yoga practitioners will find a happy confluence in Babar's Yoga for Elephants by his son, Laurent de Brunhoff. Author of a number of previous books that continue Babar's adventures, de Brunhoff's passion for yoga practice is infectious as he draws Babar starting his day with the Salutation to the Sun (with complete step-by-step instructions and the pachyderm demonstrating each position) and other stretches and breathing exercises. Humorous touches make the most of the elephant's anatomy ("I find wrapping my trunk around my feet helps to stretch"), and a series of pages show Babar and friends emulating landmarks while practicing various positions (e.g., a Downward-Facing Dog in front of I.M. Pei's pyramid at the Louvre). A poster of the pachyderm pulls out of the inside back cover.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 April
Gr 2-4-Babar confides that even elephants experience stress in their day-to-day living, and a little yoga, it seems, goes a long way in providing comfort and relaxation. In fact, the book starts out by revealing that little clay cylinders found in a cave near Celesteville prove that elephants invented yoga. This find was authenticated at the National Library, where elephants, together with human yoga experts, "discovered that all of the poses depicted on the seals are still practiced today." Spreads feature instructional text on one side, with Babar illustrating the poses on the other. After introducing yoga to Celesteville, Babar and Celeste go on a worldwide jaunt where they practice their favorite yoga positions in front of famous landmarks. The Proud Warrior is demonstrated in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Bridge is practiced in front of the Half Dome in Yosemite, and, because "the traffic in Times Square is terrible," the Lotus position returns Babar's and Celeste's minds to Celesteville. While the art style is reminiscent of the original books, the colors are far more subdued. A note at the end reminds children that "this book is intended for elephants interested in yoga," and that "humans and other animals should consult books written specifically with them in mind." The book includes a large, removable poster. Babar's Yoga would be useful for larger collections needing information on the subject.-Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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