[We are so pleased to bring you our first book review! And overjoyed to introduce our guest reviewer: madame yogini, supermom of the Northeast, proud supporter of yoga as her bailout, the one and only Nancy Alder! Some of you may know her as @yoga_mydrishti. She’s also co-founder of the Namaste Book Club (with Jenny – @evvashtangi) which we highly recommend to you yogadork bookworms. Please enjoy, thanks to Nancy!]
Dogi the Yogi by Maria Notarile Scrivan is a delightful children’s book about a bendy dog who loves yoga, with a “namaste” doormat to show it. Throughout this 32 page book, Dogi finds help from a cadre of animal friends as he stretches and bends through familiar poses, curving sideways into a half-moon, and arching his back upward as a fish. Dogi’s tale is told with a friendly cadence dictated by the sing-songy story of yoga poses and his daily practice. Best of all Ms. Scrivan presents images of the real life objects for which the poses are named along with illustrations that are gentle and sweet. I read this book with my two children, ages 4 and 5, and they loved the rhyming and jauntiness of the author’s words, as well as the helpful images: when Dogi did “Lion pose” there was an inset of a lion doing it along with him.
One of the nicest aspects of this story is that children can practice the poses along with Dogi. A favorite was when Dogi did “Starfish” pose and we all giggled as my children mimicked his posture, complete with their tongue hanging out of their mouths. Another was when we all stood up and got in “chair” pose and “cat” pose. The only pose Dogi does that has a Sanskrit name is Savasana, so the children were able to understand Dogi’s yoga without being intimidated by a foreign language.
My children each tried all the poses and had a great time doing so, although admitted that some were too hard. Herein lies my single criticism of the book. The simplicity of the text and the pictures clearly indicate that the upper age of this book is around six years old. However, Dogi successfully demonstrates some very difficult poses (such as Scorpion pose) which only more advanced yoga students, and older children might be able to do. My son, almost six, was frustrated that he could not do all the poses in the book and he would have been more engaged had there been a richer story. Perhaps a follow up book with more about Dogi himself is in order, where he could share the story of his walks to do yoga in the park, or some moments practicing at the Shitzu Shala?
Overall, Dogi the Yogi provided both exercise and creative play for my children. We were able to talk about their dreams and practice yoga poses at the same time. When I asked my daughter, 4, what she loved most about the book, there was no hesitation: “I liked how he took a rest with all his friends,” she said. She was referring to the last page where Dogi does Savasana with all the namesakes/animals of the poses he has done throughout the book. Both definitively said they would read it again and overall loved the book (they were very happy it was to remain part of our library). It provided a gateway for conversation about animals, reading and yoga. Ms. Scrivan gifted us with thirty minutes of smiles and asana, what a perfect combo for all the little yogis and their parents!
Read more at Dogi at www.dogiyogi.com
Purchase Dogi the Yogi on Amazon