Follow a baby Beluga on his first day as he is reminded to slow down and take a breath in between his big adventures.
Take a breather.
Today you've done some amazing things. And seen some pretty awesome sights. But did you revel in those moments? Or maybe you had a close call—did you take a moment to shake it off?
Our baby beluga whale does. Follow his voyage as he explores his arctic home with mom and his friends. I hope you find that Breathe is a perfect quiet day's journey into night to share with your little ones at bedtime.
"Breathe by Scott Magoon is absolutely lovely and I would love Magoon to get an award one of these days." —Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal Newbery / Caldecott 2015: The Summer Prediction Edition
"An absolutely perfect way to slow down and get ready for sleep." —The Globe and Mail (Canada)
★"A very young white whale swims into the wider world of the arctic seas, celebrating first adventures of the very young. Magoon’s digital art captures the colors and crisp, airy light of the Arctic setting; cartoon lines and wide eyes present creatures above and under the ice as friendly, rounded and smiling. Even the polar bear—seen against the sky through an ice hole as a dark shadow, possibly threatening—is fairly benign. The little whale (clearly a baby beluga but not named as such) is doing the work that toddlers do—exploring the world with mama nearby. The few words of the text speak both to whale baby and, by extension, to the listener: 'Play all day // and swim, / and swim, / and swim. // Breathe.' This last ('Breathe') appears on a double-page spread in which the young whale is surrounded by the vast sea, snowy mountains, and a pale, bright sun. Then a dive changes the palette from the pale blues and whites of the surface through greeny yellows and finally to dark: Here, what was perhaps an arctic whaler, stilled and slightly ghostly, sits on the seafloor. The simple adventure concludes with an anthropomorphic yet welcome invitation: 'Most of all, love / and be loved.' Richly composed and sweetly appealing—just right for baby storytimes as well as one-to-one sharing. (Picture book. 6 mos.-3)" —Kirkus Reviews, starred review.
"This comforting tale not only gives youngsters the opportunity to explore the ocean alongside a whale but also subtly reminds them of the importance of slowing down to take a break every once in a while. Magoon’s illustrations, which were rendered digitally, are vibrant and expansive, each filling a spread with vivid shades of blue. The minimal text is laid out in clear, big font, supporting the impressive illustrations without ever overshadowing them. With its succinct text and sprawling pictures, this story is perfectly suitable as a read-aloud. –Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY" —School Library Journal
"Magoon (The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!) rejoices in the life of a young beluga whale, focusing on images of serenity and encouragement over educational aims or warnings of environmental danger . . .Magoon’s digital illustrations add piquant touches of special-effects magic: trails of sparkly bubbles follow the diving whales in the icy-blue water, the depths of a vertical spread glow with a bioluminescent green, tendrils of sound curl out from the small whale to fill the ocean ('Listen to the sea. Sing'). Arctic animals and fish dot the landscape, and mother is always nearby: 'Most of all, love... be loved.' It’s a pleasure simply to enjoy the beluga’s existence, though readers should readily recognize that Magoon’s directives to 'make new friends' and 'find another way up' apply to them, too. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Apr.)" —Publisher's Weekly
- A Massachusetts Center for the Book Must-Read 2015 picture book selection.
- National Museum of Wildlife Art Bull Bransom Award nominee.
- Huffington Post Best Books of 2014 pick!
- A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2014.
- PBS also selected Breathe to its Best of 2014 list!
- A Kirkus Best Books of 2014 pick for Best Read Aloud and Best Books for Animal Lovers.
- A 2015 Capitol Choices nomination for readers 0-7.
- Scholastic Book Club selection
- Society of Illustrators The Original Art 2014 juried show acceptance.
- Reading Rainbow recommends!
- Author Debbie Ridpath Ohi found Breathe deeply moving.
- Booksforyourkids.com has a whale of a review here.
- Librarian's Quest took a breather and posted this review.
- A review surfaced on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (more behind scenes stuff)!
- Illustrator/blogger Shirley Ng Benitez dove into Breathe with her blog post.
- Beautiful post about Breathe at Small Protagonist. Lots of pics!
- Here's a whale craft you and your little explorers can do.
- OMazing Kids posted a beautiful printable and some lesson plan ideas.
On Social Media
I created and posted these on social media accounts to create some talking points around the book. Some are more tasteful than others.
On the Road
Wellesley Booksmith Event
Massachusetts Book Awards Presentation Ceremony
I was at the Massachusetts State House to accept a Massachusetts Center for the Book state book award honor for Breathe with other Bay State authors and illustrators. What an incredible day!
Behind the Scenes
Here are some sketches I created while working on Breathe.
Belugas in Action!
Check out Belugas in this short video...they are absolutely amazing creatures.