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Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature Hardcover – February 14, 2012
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—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
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Top Customer Reviews
Author Nicola Davies says of writing "Outside Your Window": "I cast off my grown-up self and found the me I was at five or six." Flipping through the pages reminded of a time when the simplest things could inspire awe; an early morning spider's web in all its glittering geometry, the flick of a squirrel's tail, the tip of a seedling peeking up through the soil in a paper cup, the smudgy gray of a pigeon feather, a tumble of broken seashells scattered by a wave.
Mark Hearld uses a melange of cutouts, pastel, paint, pen and ink, woodblock print and colored pencil to create his juicy, layered collages. Detailed borders and backgrounds add even more dimension. I was so uplifted and inspired by his images, I could hardly wait to paint, draw and try my hand at carving a small woodblock.
It is Hearld's art, most of all, that gives proof of the rich gifts nature offers; the treasure trove of sights, sounds and seasons that wait "Outside Your Window". Davies' simple poems provide the perfect grace note.
The 110 page picture book progresses through the seasons, starting with spring. The poems are simple and straightforward for the most part. Which makes the author's occasional metaphors and similes light up her poems.
The spectacular art, which we're told is mixed media, draws you into the author's observations of each poem. By the look, I'd say the artwork is a collage of watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper.
In "Bulbs" Davies writes, "something tells the bulb it's time to grow./Inside its brown coat and layers like an onion,/ a tiny pulse beats..." The author has watched nature and passes her acute observations to us through a child-like eye, making us experience nature afresh.
In "Nesting" artist Hearld uses actual strands of straw in the bird's beak and in the nest she's building. It makes you feel like you're helping to construct the nest.
In "Flowers," Davies writes, "Without a sound the flowers call out./ They shout to insects with their colors--" What we normally see, the author has made us hear. Let's listen to our gardens.
In "Tide Pooling," Hearld uses mono-printed fish or crayfish in the larger spread. That is, he's made a woodcut or linoleum cut or maybe a potato cut of one fish, and printed it in various colors across his larger composition. The artwork makes you want to try some of his child-friendly techniques.
In "Starlings," she says of the flying starlings, "hundreds, thousands maybe...They look like smoke, or a curtain rippling in the breeze...as their flying is a dance that they all know by heart." Nice image, but the clincher is the heartfelt dance.Read more ›
This book is destined to be a Children's Classic. It should be in every library.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A favorite of ours - have given to many young family members and friends, and it always becomes a favorite of theirs. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Diana Davis Kornet
Got two copies for our grandchildren for Easter. Seemed to be a big hit. We are avid wildlife observers and this seems a way to share that with the youngest family membersPublished 13 months ago by Carol Ann Frost
This is an absolutely charming British children's book, beautifully written Nicola Davies, and illustrated by one of my all-time favorite artists, Mark Hearld. Read morePublished 17 months ago by esmerelda33
Love this book also, however did not realize that the content is the same as ' a first book of nature' by the same author ! Just has a different cover !Published 20 months ago by Elizabeth Wright
This is a wonderful book, beautiful illustrations.
Good for older or younger children, even adults will enjoy this gorgeous tribute to nature.
So beautiful! A wonderful book to read with your child. An introduction to seasons, biology, nature, recipes. Shows the world how it is...interconnected. Read morePublished on November 23, 2013 by E. Fowler
Lovely book for young readers and young parents. Great drawings and stories for children to learn to appreciate nature and seasons.Published on September 21, 2013 by Frank Comments