“B is for Burpees” Teaches Toddlers (and Mother and father) About Practical Health

Image Credit: Courtesy of Marcus Lowther

Every parent knows the phrase: “A is for apples.” But what about “B is for burpees?”

B is for Burpees is the third children’s literature release from CartoonFit Comics, a comic book account inspired by well-known cartoons The Oatmeal and Dilbert, which are all about fitness. The author Marcus Lowther, a CrossFit coach, uses humor as a “carefree entry into the fitness world” for children and adults.

The books: Lowther started CartoonFit in 2016 as a satire aimed primarily at adults in the CrossFit community. In 2017, he published his first children’s book, The Race Against Time, which brings functional fitness to life through the journeys of two characters, Platey (an Olympic lifting plate with a face and legs) and Tina.

  • “I was a little naive at first” he says. “Children’s books are difficult.”

His second book, The lost bikes tells the story of two children who discover functional fitness on the way to retrieving their bikes from their parents ‘garage, their parents’ gym. Every device has a personality that is divided into two categories: the bad “stationery” and the good “cell phones”.

  • “There is some equipment that causes bumps and bruises (like the skipping rope and rope eyelashes when learning double backgrounds) which mean these characters are “bad”, “he says.
  • Platey (weight plate), Belle (kettlebell) and Balloo (medicine ball) are friendly characters because there are usually versions of these moves that people enjoy (and a friendly face helps give an extra boost), ”he continues.

B is for burpees:: Lowther’s The latest book – a coloring book with functional movements – is “something simple” that he believed more children would appreciate. It is a good chance for young athletes to see what their bodies can do.

  • “With simple illustrations, children can give the letters their own color and creative touch.” explains that B’s description is for burpees. “Fitness and functional movement are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives, and this is a great introduction to the equipment and toys that make exercise fun.”

Lowther has completed the CrossFit Kids curriculum and believes that B for burpees is an addition to these concepts, “not a substitute”.

The book goes through the alphabetAdd movements and illustrations to each letter: “F is for flexibility,” “S is for squat,” and “J is for bucking.” Characters from his previous books – Balloo, Platey, Belle – appear along with drawings by famous athletes such as Tia Clair-Toomey playing some of the words.

B is for burpees is also translated into Spanish. Lowther, who is black, says this has been a way of promoting diversity and accessibility in fitness.

  • “There just aren’t that many blacks in CrossFitand that will be clearer this year than ever before, ”he says. “I think the Latinx community isn’t highlighted enough either.”
  • Lowther’s wife is Peruvian and he says the translation of the book is one “Good opportunity to speak a little more with your community and the Latinx community in general, who are facing many of the same issues that the black community has.”

Translate the bookLowther worked with his wife and translator to match and change or add drawings. He gives the example of Z: In English it stands for “Zzzz” (sleep), in the Spanish version for zapatillas (sneakers).

Going forward, Lowther plans to work on a story that keeps diversity in mind, with more characters and children who would be “recognizable to minorities”.

The details: B is for Burpees can be purchased from Amazon along with Lowther’s other books. According to Lowther, the coloring book is approved for both children and parents.

  • “I think kids can enjoy it for the simple pictures and adults can enjoy it as a coffee table book or conversation starter about fitness, ”he says. “In 2020, when children go to school more from home, it is also a relatively cheap option to keep children busy and be curious to move around a few minutes outside of the day.”

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