By Christine Gardner/Illustrated by Kristin Abbott
Every modern parent knows the drill – there’s school, soccer practice, dance lessons, violin lessons, play dates, boy/girl scouts, homework, and, and, and…until it reaches a point that the activities of your children are one big blur, requiring a full-time scheduler and taxi driver. Into this chaos comes “A Moment of Quiet is Nothing to Fear,” a book that actually asks a child to stop, slow down, take a breath, and imagine. The benefits of this are a lesson that should be inserted into the daily lives of entire families.

The author has mastered the nuances of children’s story-telling, keeping the language simple and appropriate for youngsters. The final twist of its plot is a sure-fire, heart-warming and hug-engendering point that perfectly caps the story.

The author has also kept the book at the appropriate length for young children needing a happy ending before dreamland. A kindly grandfather is the guide for young Coco, a girl whose whirlwind of a life is stopped short after school when grandpa suggests that she stay home, sit down, take a breath and do nothing but let her mind wander. “There’s a Coco inside I want you to know,” says Grandpa. Naturally, Coco resists. She’s a princess trapped in a tower, and there’s so much to do! But as she slows down and begins contemplating her escape from this boredom, Coco soon finds that she’s navigating a delightful imaginary world of her own creation.

The message, of course, is that you don’t have to fill your life with frantic activity and there is a rich world to be found in the spaces in-between. Yes, dear Coco, there is nothing wrong with a balanced life that includes a moment of silence. Children of all ages will benefit from this received wisdom, and there’s more to the book than the story. Printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks, and with an environmental impact statement on the dedication page, the book serves as a platform for discussion of lifestyle issues, activism, nurturing, the earth’s resources and much, much more. Lavishly illustrated and easy to read for most youngsters, this is a book that deserves to be read and discussed in every home. Not just at bedtime, but at any time when the pace of life threatens to become overwhelming.