Book reviews

Book Review: Discovering Joe Pilates

Title: Discovering Joe Pilates – a Whimsical Exploration of Joe’s Inventions

Authors: written by Christina Maria Gadar; illustrated by Taís Haydée Gadar

Year of Publication: 2017

Availability:, also available on and and probably amazon in other countries.

Reviewed by: Rebekah Le Magny

I will let you in a little secret.  I only review books that I like.  That is not to say that I will lie and write a positive review of a book that I don’t enjoy.  I just prefer to read a book first and then offer to review it once I am sure that I like it.  For me, the book review forum is an opportunity to share with my Pilates peers the books that I love.  I don’t really enjoy sharing negativity.  (If you strongly suspect that your dress makes you look hideous, please don’t ask me- I don’t want to lie, so I will hedge and may jump out the window to avoid answering).   I ordered this book as soon as it came out and happily, I loved it!   I am supposed to be finishing up my review of Movement Matters, but decided to do a short review of Discovering Joe Pilates first….



Christina Maria Gadar is a Romana-trained Pilates instructor who has been teaching in her Sarasota, Florida studio, Gadar Pilates, since 2000.  She is also the author of Pilates, An Interactive Workbook: if You’re Going to Do It, Do It Right (reviewed by Sunni Almond for this forum).  Obviously, this has nothing to do with the quality of the books themselves, but Christina’s video trailer for her interactive workbook is one of the most exquisitely executed displays of Pilates that I have seen.  Click this link to watch it – it is a must-see-

and the following link for the video trailer of Discovering Joe Pilates.

Discovering Joe Pilates features Christina’s two beautiful children, both of whom practice Pilates regularly.  Marcello is ten years old and Taís Haydée is eight years old.  Taís is not only one of the models, she is also the illustrator of the book and her illustrations are truly delightful (they have been made into greeting cards – note to self – try to find them).  The book features a photograph and description of each of the major Pilates apparatus (apparatus by Gratz), together with an illustration of the apparatus as seen through the eyes of a child.  A reformer becomes a skateboard, the Cadillac becomes a monkey playground, the spine corrector a turtle.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the ladder barrel described and drawn as a snail.  A few weeks ago, my young student (twenty-three years old, practically still a child) referred to the ladder barrel as the escargot (snail in French), a description that I found hilarious and that had never occurred to me.  How wonderful to rediscover Pilates through a child’s eyes. Christina describes her book as being “for kids and the young at heart.” I’m not sure when it happens, but at some point, sadly we lose our child eyes!  Let’s try to get them back!  Too often we become absorbed at “fixing” our students and forget that Pilates should be fun.  In keeping with the fun, creative spirit of the book, each photo and illustration is also accompanied by a limerick!


“This barrel will stretch out your spine

And hopefully not make you whine.

Resembling a whale

That swims with its tail

The barrel is simply divine.”


The book also contains a short section on Joe Pilate’s life (illustrated with Joe in the snow wearing nothing but his famous briefs) as well as another part devoted to Joe’s successor and Christina’s mentor, Romana Kryzanowska.

As a mother of four (including an eight-year old daughter who also loves to draw), I was particularly touched that the book was the collaborative effort of Christina and her children.  My smaller kids do like to come play in my own home studio, particularly on the ladder barrel, but the studio is mostly off limits to them as it is what we call an intimate (translation – small) studio and my kids tend to be energetic (translation – noisy and disruptive). I hope to share with them one day my passion for Pilates; they currently have only a vague idea of Mom teaches and have not manifested much enthusiasm about learning Pilates, although my youngest son is beginning to show some interest.  Perhaps this book will spark a flame and we can explore Pilates together… Pilates is a gift to be shared, particularly with our children.

I was also deeply moved by Christina’s acknowledgement of “the special person who helped me see rainbows again”, whom Christina credits as having “inspired her into bringing Pilates into the lives of young children” and in whose memory the book is dedicated.  A portion of the royalties from the book will be donated to the Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research.

I just sat down with my daughter and went over the book with her.  She loved it and we made a date to go play on the equipment tomorrow! 😊 Discovering Joe Pilates is a wonderful book to share with your children and for your students to share with their children.  It will also make a great gift to give to your favorite students themselves, those that are “young at heart”.