Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature

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Overview

This gorgeously illustrated volume of poetry — sprinkled with facts and fun things to do — sows an early love for nature in all its beauty and wonder.

The buzz of bees in summertime. The tracks of a bird in the winter snow. This beautiful book captures all the sights and sounds of a child’s interactions with nature, from planting acorns or biting into crisp apples to studying tide pools or lying back and watching the birds overhead. No matter what’s outside their windows — city ...

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Overview

This gorgeously illustrated volume of poetry — sprinkled with facts and fun things to do — sows an early love for nature in all its beauty and wonder.

The buzz of bees in summertime. The tracks of a bird in the winter snow. This beautiful book captures all the sights and sounds of a child’s interactions with nature, from planting acorns or biting into crisp apples to studying tide pools or lying back and watching the birds overhead. No matter what’s outside their windows — city streets or country meadows — kids will be inspired to explore the world around them. Written by award-winning author Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld, a breathtaking new talent in children’s books, Outside Your Window is a stunning reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Divided into seasons, this visceral introduction to the wonders of nature explores cycles and the passage of time through rich, textural images and thoughtful poems. Spring is “the busiest season.” Icicles melt, frogs lay eggs, and birds migrate: “They’ve flown so far!/ Over forests, mountains, deserts, seas.” Summer is “Time to look at the sky/ and dream,” explore tide pools, and build dens. With fall come new observations (“They’re not animals, and they’re not plants./ They’re something else—/ they’re fungi: toadstools, mushrooms, molds”), and in winter “Patchwork pigeons, made of sky,/ catch the rain clouds when they fly.” Debut talent Hearld layers his organic tableaux with matte, paper-cut collages, woodcuts, and other mixed-media techniques, complementing the album of ideas, images, and moods created by Davies’s evocative poetry. Ages 3–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Divided into seasons, this visceral introduction to the wonders of nature explores cycles and the passage of time through rich, textural images and thoughtful poems... Debut talent Hearld layers his organic tableaux with matte, paper-cut collages, woodcuts, and other mixed-media techniques, complementing the album of ideas, images, and moods created by Davies’s evocative poetry.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reading poetry may seem an activity for the winter-bound and introverted, but this lovely collection, organized by season, urges children to dash outside, slamming the screen door behind them. Unlike so much poetry geared toward children, not all the verse here rhymes, introducing readers to poetic language outside the predictable cadences of Dr. Seuss. Mixed-media illustrations, with an emphasis on woodblock and silhouette, offer plenty of beauty to contemplate.
—The New York Times

This is a beautiful book, thick and sturdy and elegant, printed on paper that seems to whisper under the fingers.
—Wall Street Journal

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Written by a veteran children's author as well as a biologist, this visually appealing first nature book captures a child's wonder as they explore the burgeoning world of nature. Divided into seasons, the book praises the wonder of flora, fauna, weather and many of the rituals of the various seasons such as seed planting and berry picking. An obvious love of nature is embedded in the short, non-rhyming verses that praise bird's nesting in spring, making hay in the summer, the leaves of autumn and the bare trees of winter. Each season sports a dozen or so poems. The mixed media illustrations are bold and colorful to draw younger readers into the scene. The descriptive text seems to match each subject in tone and tenor. There is even an addition of a recipe or two. It's a lovely introduction for youngsters and serves to increase their observations and appreciation of the natural world as well as the joy of listening to someone read to them. It's a book to be enjoyed again and again. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—A handsome, oversize collection of original poems paired with vibrant illustrations in mixed media ranging from watercolor to collage. Broken down into seasons, the selections encourage children to observe the world around them and appreciate nature in lyrical ways. Davies describes spring bulbs "counting out the days like a calendar" so that they know winter is almost gone and summer flowers that "shout to insects with their colors." In autumn, fungi appear like "rubbery Frisbees on trunks of trees" and in winter, swarms of starlings fly together "making waves and arcs and spirals in the sunset sky." The seasons flow with the sweep and swoosh of Hearld's colorful, impressionistic artwork. Along with her joyful poetry, Davies includes directions for making a tasty "berry crumble," hints on "saving seeds" for future cultivation, and making suet "seed cakes" for winter birds. In no way a field guide (originally published in Great Britain, some of the wildlife is strictly European), this is a celebration of the world around us.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Lyrically textured and illustrated glimpses of the natural world. In this sweeping, comprehensive look outdoors, zoologist and noted children's author Davies (Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, 2011, etc.) here joins forces with the illustrative talents of British artist Hearld, a kindred spirit when it comes to drawing artistic inspiration from nature. Following the progression of the seasons, these poems and their accompanying eye-popping spreads capture the essence of common animals, plants and phenomena in ways sure to entice young readers to venture outside. Hearld's powerful multimedia illustrations layer paper-cut animals and diverse flora with vibrant swathes of watercolor, ink and crayon, creating dynamic scenes to which children can readily relate, while Davies' spare lyrics ground complex processes like the life cycles of frogs and dandelions and the formation of rainbows with relative clarity. Some broader scenes encourage children to explore with all their senses and prove especially evocative, as in this moving image of what can happen during a snow-filled winter's night: "In the morning, you'll find the snow has kept a diary / of things that happened when you were asleep. / The animals and birds who ran about the garden / have left a snowy record of their feet." Over 50 poems, lustrous illustrations, a couple simple recipes and some advice for saving seeds combine to lend enough nature-related food for thought for many a sitting. (Picture book/poetry. 3-12)
Pamela Paul
…[a] lovely collection…Mixed-media illustrations, with an emphasis on woodblock and silhouette, offer plenty of beauty to contemplate.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763655495
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Pages: 108
  • Sales rank: 184,806
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.60 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicola Davies is a zoologist and an award-winning author whose many books for children include Surprising Sharks, illustrated by James Croft; Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, illustrated by Neal Layton; and Gaia Warriors. Nicola Davies lives in Wales.

"To write Outside Your Window I cast off my grown-up self and found the me I was at five or six. Inside that younger self I could see the world as I saw it first — not just the sights and sounds of nature, but the feelings and the thoughts about it that ran through me, strong as the tide." — Nicola Davies

Mark Hearld is a distinguished artist who makes prints, paintings, collages, textiles, and ceramics that are inspired by the natural world, especially by animals. He lives in England.

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