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Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature Hardcover – February 14, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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From Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
Whether celebrating life's joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age. Hardcover | Kindle book | See more for ages 3-5
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Best known for science books such as Extreme Animals (2006) and Surprising Sharks (2003), Davies turns to poetry in this large-format book. The poems cycle through the year from spring to winter, with more than a dozen poems in each seasonal section. Written in plain, down-to-earth language, the verse offers observations and information about the natural world as well as reflections, short narratives, and suggestions to help children to enjoy it. Hearld’s mixed-media collage illustrations are unified in style but varied in technique, offering different effects that suit the subjects of individual poems. The artwork is full of life and movement, color, and texture. While few of the verses rhyme, those that do are some of the best. A versatile blend of poetry and science, this is an excellent choice for sharing across the curriculum. Preschool-Grade 2. --Carolyn Phelan

Review

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Gift edition (February 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076365549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763655495
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.7 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I saw a very large black snake when I was biking yesterday. It was early evening and he was stretched across the road warming himself in the waning light. Instead of recoiling in horror, (my usual M.O.), I felt a sort of friendliness toward a fellow traveler. Perhaps because I'd seen him before in the very same spot. Or perhaps, having read this book with its simple poems and delightful illustrations, I feel more grateful and tender toward the world outside my window.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I stumbled upon this book quite by accident and I am so thrilled that I did! The illustrations are gorgeous and not cartoon-like as some children's books can be. I appreciate that it is arranged by seasons and helps a child learn how he can interact with the natural world all through the year. Informative for little ones and a feast for the eyes. Will be picking up more copies to share with friends!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature" by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld (Candlewick 2012) is a stunning work.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book goes by another name in Australia, My First Book of Nature. The content does not follow a specific storyline but takes the reader through all four seasons. The text is supposed to be poetic, but misses the mark a bit and is instead comes across as factual. My daughter loved the extensive illustrations. She was more thrilled with the book than I, so in that sense job well done.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! The illustrations are so beautiful I wish I could tear out the pages and frame them. The rhymes that go with the changing of the seasons are adorable and fun to read aloud to children. The world outside your window covers a wide variety of nature from rain to bees to cows. As I turned the pages I never knew what was going to be next.

This book is destined to be a Children's Classic. It should be in every library.
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By Katie Smith on February 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this a while back but never got around to posting a review. Absolutely gorgeous book with the most wonderful poems on the theme of seasons and nature. We love it. Pictures and colors are wonderful as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The illustrations are simply wonderful and capture all of nature's whimsy and beauty. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the rather awkward musings of the author. In trying to appeal to both adults and children, the author succeeds at neither endeavor. Very clumsy and dull, but the illustrations are absolutely worth purchasing this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Right up there with Alice, Peter Rabbit and Winnie-the Pooh. Nicola Davies speaks straight to our hearts and Mark Hearld's collage illustrations are beyond magic - I can't explain it, but they bring the birds and squirrels and everybody right into your lap in the most extraordinary way. I hope everyone has the chance to visit this world.
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