Saturday Is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum (9780763691172)
A little girl wakes up with a stomach ache on Saturday, worried about her swimming lesson. When they get to the pool, it is loud and cold and wet. She doesn’t enter the pool at all, only getting wet when she takes a shower afterwards. The next week, she has a stomach ache again. This time, her instructor asks her to try getting in the pool and gently encourages her to try some movements in the water. The following week, she doesn’t have a stomach ache at all! She tries bobbing her head and even floating on her back, though she’d like her instructor nearby at first. This picture book looks positively at giving children time to adjust to new experiences and yet to continue encouraging them to try new things.
Yum captures the feelings of a child learning to swim. It is a frightening experience at first, filled with echoing noise, dampness and others enjoying it far more. All of the adults in the little girl’s life allow her time to be brave and don’t push in a negative way. The book is told her voice, so she demonstrates on her own how her viewpoint changes over time and the experience becomes positive and source of pride for her.
Yum’s illustrations are expressive and center on the little girl in each image. She uses watercolors very successfully to capture the flow of the water in the pool and its blue depths. Against that softer texture, the characters pop in bright colors as they swim, or don’t swim yet.
A winning book that shows how bravery sometimes takes time. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.