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Emily and the Mighty Om
by Sarah Lolley
Illustrated by Sleepless Kao
AGES: 4 - 8
PAGES: 32
SIZE: 8 x 10
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: $16.95 US | $18.95 CAN
HARDCOVER: 978-1-897476-35-2

Montreal Review of Books:

 

"With Emily and the Mighty Om, Sarah Lolley taps into the recent trend of kids’ yoga with the tale of a girl who helps a yogi resolve a difficult problem. Emily is entranced by her new neighbour, a beard-tugging elderly gentleman by the name of Albert who appears on his front lawn each afternoon to do his yoga routine. More curious than the bizarre positions he achieves is his concluding “om,” which he explains is “a magic word that everything understands – people and animals, trees, even rocks.” One day, Emily returns home to find Albert stuck in a complicated asana on his front lawn, unable to speak. One by one, passersby stop to offer their frantic suggestions for what he needs, but it is Emily who remembers the words of her elder and leads them in a collective chant that cuts through the tension and re-establishes the calm that Albert needs to pop out of his pose. Sleepless Kao’s paintings use calming, spring-like colours in a natural setting and simple figures to reflect the serenity of the om. Not only is Lolley’s tale a useful narrative means to inspire scattered children to redirect their energies into observation and inward gazing, but the story’s broader message tells us that even the youngest and the smallest among us have the capacity to teach."

 

 

Booklist:

 

"Emily’s new neighbor, Albert, may be old, but he sure doesn’t act like it. He spends a lot of time outside, stretching his body into bizarre positions. “It’s called yoga,” he says, and he explains why, during meditation, he uses the word om: “It’s a magic word that everything understands—people and animals, trees . . . even rocks.” Emily is dubious until the day Albert gets trapped in a twisty position and can only utter the first letter: “O!” Passersby try to help. The old guy wants a phone, surmises one. No, he needs a lawn gnome, posits another. Or perhaps a poem, a comb, a dome, or even left alone. Emily, though, knows the deal, and she leads a group “om” until Albert relaxes and unlocks. Given the alarming yoga disaster, this is less an advertisement for yoga than it is a lighthearted look at the benefits of patience and relaxation. Lolley’s prose is crystal clear, and Kao’s paintings have a peaceful—indeed, zenlike—simplicity. But the best part? The endpapers, crammed with Albert’s many poses."

— Daniel Kraus 

 

 

School Library Journal:

 

"PreS-Gr 1–This comical tale illustrates how children can often be misunderstood by well-meaning adults. Emily meets Albert, her new neighbor who teaches her yoga and gets stuck in a pose. Her attempts to help him results in several adults imposing their own interpretations of what Albert is saying and needs. Vibrant colors and great yoga pose illustrations bring the book to life as readers inwardly chuckle over the various characters’ confusion over the yoga word om, hearing instead phone, gnome, poem, dome, Rome, and alone. The book is a great tool to empower student voice, discuss character traits, or build accountable talk. A wide variety of children will enjoy listening to it as a read aloud or reading it independently as they learn the magic of the word om, which brings peace, light and understanding to everyone, even the most stubborn adults. This simple story is a solid addition to any school library collection." 

–Tracey Wong, P.S. 54/Fordham Bedford Academy, Bronx, NY

 

 

Publisher's Weekly:

 

"Emily's elderly new neighbor, Albert, is a yoga enthusiast, and he's happy to share his knowledge. "Om," he tells her, is "a magic word that everything understands—people and animals, trees... even rocks." One day, Albert gets stuck in one of his yoga positions, his legs twisted improbably around each other like a pretzel. "O..." he gasps. Adult passersby make silly guesses about what he's trying to say. "He wants a phone!" says a passing lifeguard. "A poem!" shouts a librarian. (Side note: the librarian's poem is actually very good.) At last Emily, equally improbably, persuades the grownups to sit in meditation and chant "Om," creating an atmosphere of calm that allows Albert to untangle himself. Kao supplies sweet-faced, doll-like figures, outlining them in warm browns and placing them on pleasant stretches of lime-green grass. A broadly appealing theme about how adult power silences children ("Emily was pretty sure she knew what Albert had really said. But the lifeguard was an adult") runs throughout newcomer Lolley's story, but its most likely audience will be adult yoga enthusiasts who seek to introduce the practice to young readers. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)"

 

 

CM Magazine:

 

"Emily’s new neighbor, Albert loves to practice yoga. Intrigued with the mantra ‘om’, Emily tries to communicate with plants, rocks and her cat. One day, Albert tries a difficult pose and ends up twisted up like a kitten-attacked ball of wool. Emily beseeches passersby to help untangle him. They all think Albert is saying a different word that sounds like ‘om’. Only Emily can really help him because she knows the magic word for relaxation and calmness. However, she second-guesses herself and defers to all the adults because she has been taught that adults know better than she does. Poor Albert has to endure a phone, gnome, and a poem before Emily speaks up and saves the day.

 

As an introduction to yoga, Emily and the Mighty Om may entice young readers to want to try some of the poses and to chant ‘om’ and ‘namaste’. The utilization of words that rhyme with ‘om’ might even spark the imaginations of young readers to create a list of other ‘om’ words. The soft watercolour cartoon-like illustrations add to the calming effect of the theme. Even the end papers of the book illustrate many yoga positions.

 

This delightful book promotes the relaxing features of yoga and encourages self-confidence."