With physical education classes rapidly disappearing from schools across the country, and many kids preferring to spend their free time in front of screens instead of playing outdoors or in other active pursuits, it’s not surprising that a large percentage of U.S. children are not getting enough physical activity each day. And that lack of activity is undoubtedly contributing to the alarming rise in childhood obesity.
Alarmed that his own daughter was becoming an unfit kid, Doug Werner, a veteran of the health and fitness industries, created a straightforward plan to help put her back on the path to better health and fitness. Abbie Gets Fit is based on that first-hand experience.
Featuring colorful illustrations and simple language, Abbie Gets Fit begins with Abbie’s realization that, based on a failed fitness evaluation at school, she is not as healthy or fit as she should be. Looking to her father for help, Abbie outlines her goals (to pass the next test and be able to write her name on the wall, as her friends already did) and agrees to follow her dad’s instructions. Over the next six months, Abbie begins each day with an early-morning walk, gradually working up to one hour and adding in some jogging. She also completes curl-ups and push-ups while receiving encouragement from her family. The story ends with Abbie not only passing the test, but doing well enough to beat the challenge goals, and writing her name on the wall.
The story is thoughtfully told and the author does a good job of explaining why fitness is important and demonstrating that, while getting fit does not have to be a chore, it does require commitment. As a picture book, Abbie Gets Fit is most appropriate for children ages four to nine. Some of the longer conversations between Abbie and her father are a bit repetitive and, overall, the book would have benefited from tighter writing and editing. This does not detract, however, from the importance of the message, or the satisfaction of seeing Abbie complete the goal she has worked so hard to achieve.
What we liked:
- Provides a much-needed message about the importance of being physically fit and how to systematically achieve it
- Conversational tone and colorful illustrations will appeal to children ages four to nine
- Story demonstrates how children can achieve their goals when they are motivated and work hard
What we didn’t like:
- The writing could have benefited from tighter editing, which is particularly important when trying to hold a child’s attention.
August 27, 2012