In the Swim

Now that Summer is officially here, children everywhere are delightedly or reluctantly learning how to swim. For a fun activity, it can be fraught with anxiety. Will I sink? How will I breathe? Perhaps some picture books on the subject would be reassuring.

First, it needs to be acknowledged that some children just aren't ready to swim yet. Edward in Deep Water by Rosemary Wells is part of the "Edward the Unready" series. After some boisterous friends at a pool party pop his water wings, his understanding mother and father reassure him that "Not everyone is ready for the same things at the same time."

At the other end of the spectrum, in Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins, Maisy and her friends have a non-stressful, fun time at their group swim lesson. From blowing bubbles to wrapping up in a big towel, Maisy can't wait to go swimming again. Choose this one if you want to accentuate the positive.

Sergio loves water in the form of rain, puddles and a cold bath. But he is reluctant to dive into the ocean with his penguin classmates. Once he gets up the nerve to try, he has fun -- but never quite gives up his floaties. (Maybe next time.)  Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez.

In Make the Team, Baby Duck! the titular character starts out on the sidelines at the pool. She is afraid her arms might get tired or she might swallow water. Her patient Grandpa points out that even champions get tired and cough in the water sometimes, giving Baby Duck time to be ready to jump in. Much to her delight, her arms do not get tired and she breathes just fine!

Finally, be sure to try Froggy Learns to Swim, by Jonathan London. The interaction between Froggy and his mother, with Froggy repeatedly whining "I don't want to," and his mother cheerfully replying "Oh, come on Froggy, just try it," may ring true for some small readers. They may also enjoy repeating the mother's helpful chants, "Bubble, Bubble, Toot, Toot" and "Chicken... airplane.. . soldier" (to remember the positions of the frog kick).

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