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Saturday Is Swimming Day

by Hyewon Yum

Book list A little girl awakens on Saturday with a stomachache. Since she has no fever, her mother takes her to her first weekly swimming class. She reluctantly dons her bathing suit, but she won't swim. Instead, she stands poolside and tells Mary, the class instructor, that her stomach hurts. The following Saturday follows the same pattern, but she lets Mary carry her in the water, and she tries to participate. The next week, after practicing at home in the bathtub, the girl begins to relax and join the other kids in trying new skills. Best of all: no stomachache. The child narrates the story in direct, matter-of-fact sentences. Meanwhile, the artwork, created with watercolor and colored pencil, clearly expresses her initial dread, sadness, and sense of isolation from the other children, as well as her happiness when she joins them in the end. While showing children they can overcome their fear of water and learn to swim, this quiet picture book realistically depicts how slow their progress will be, yet how rewarding.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A young child conquers a fear of swimming in this charming, child-focused picture book. The unnamed first-person narrator, a preschooler with straight black hair and a strawberry-printed swimsuit, wakes up with a stomachache on the first day of swimming lessons. Blonde, curly-haired Mom offers reassurances that it will probably go away at the pool, but meeting the friendly instructor, Mary, and seeing the excitement of the other budding swimmers can't drive away the butterflies. The child dawdles in the dressing room and spends the lesson on dry ground. The next Saturday, the stomachache has returned, but Martha is willing to offer support while the hesitant young protagonist tries "ice cream scoops." Finding the warm water soothing, the positive experience is enough to inspire evening paddling practice at home in the bathtub. Slowly, the child becomes more comfortable in the water (a better-fitting swim cap helps), progressing all the way to floating alone like a starfish and having splashing contests with the other children. Yum's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations perfectly capture a young child's expressions, conveying reluctance and nervousness as much through body position as through the text. The instructor and classmates are portrayed as a diverse group inclusive of ethnicity and body type. VERDICT An empowering story of gradually overcoming fear that will resonate with young children. A great purchase for most collections.-Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus In this story about new experiences, readers follow a tiny girl who faces her fear of swimming every Saturday. Trying something new can be scary. Saturday mornings seem to start with stomachaches, as a grumpy little Asian girl fakes illness to avoid going to the swimming pool. She clings to her mom and hides in a locker. Her body language clearly shows her to be uncomfortable and tense as she stands against the wall while other children of all shapes and colors dive right in. Things do not look promising. Week by week, without any pressure from her white mom, she returns to the pool and takes tiny steps forward with the black swim instructor named Mary. Mary guides her away from the pool's edge and gently builds on small successes each Saturday. Illustrations, done in watercolor and colored pencil, show the blue waters of the pool framed by the cold white floor tiles. Colorful swimsuits, bathing caps, and skin tones splash the pages. Slowly, the narrator finds her fearful feelings begin to change. As the little girl's courage grows, the floor tiles slowly disappear, and the pictures become all water. The unnamed child narrates, gender indicated by the style of her swimsuit.This tender and accessible story of bravery and patience when facing a new situation encompasses a wide range of emotions for timid children of all shapes and colors. (Picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book At the young Asian girl narrator's first swim lesson, she shrinks from getting into the water, and the teacher doesn't insist. By the third Saturday, she's ready to fully participate. Yum conveys the little girl's reluctance through body language. Watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations show people with a variety of skin tones. There's no preaching or reproach, just adults giving an anxious child time and space to try something new. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.