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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday Is Swimming Day, written and illustrated by Hyewon Yum. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House, 2018. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"She took my temperature
and said I didn't have a fever,
so I could still go to my swim

She rubbed my tummy and
said it would probably feel
better once I got there.
I didn't think so."

It doesn't seem to matter what age a person is, it is difficult to forget those things that scared us as children. For me, it was many things. I have always been happy at home; as a young child, that was very true. New experiences were not my cup of tea. I remember being fearful of many new things, one being swimming lessons at our neighborhood pool.

So, I know exactly how this little girl feels as she contemplates a series of Saturday swimming lessons. The first week, she has a stomach ache. Mom is patient, allowing her to express her fear of the unknown in a physical way. She probably does have a knot in her stomach. Mom listens and then assures her that she will be fine. It doesn't go well. She sits at the side of the pool for the entire lesson. Her teacher, Mary, is understanding and lets her watch. The other kids seem just fine, and have personalities of their own.

The next week is no better. The stomach might even be worse. Mary once again listens and then promises to help. New discoveries are made ... the water is warm, kicking comes easily, and crossing the pool with help is possible. Each week gets better, as readers might expect.

The watercolor and colored pencil artwork is gorgeous, filled with bright color and a familiar setting. Expressive facial and body language creates a sense of initial fear and then growing comfort as the weeks pass by.                                                                               

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