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Outside Over There (Caldecott Collection) Paperback – February 28, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ida tumbles into a magical world to recover her lost sister and, in the process, makes discoveries about herself and those she loves. Hauntingly illustrated by a master storyteller and artist."--"Children's Books 1981 (NY Public Library)." "A book for all ages. . . . Sendak has never produced anything like [this]."--"H."

From the Back Cover

A beautifully illustrated story of a little Ida saving her baby sister from the goblins. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: AD590L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Collection
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Caldecott Collection edition (February 28, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064431851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064431859
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shanshad VINE VOICE on May 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Sendak's work almost always takes a reader by surprise. His themes are not comfortable ones, particularly for parents. He deals with the internal desires of children, the kinds of things that can be interpreted as unacceptable and frightening. For instance, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, which has become a classic in children's literature is about a boy who acts out--who becomes a "wild thing" himself. His transformation back into a boy is a gradual and wonderful part of the picture book, but in no way tries to deny that the "wild thing" aspect exists.
Likewise, OUTSIDE, OVER THERE is a tale of siblings, jealousy and responsibility. The heroine is Ida, a young girl who's father is away and so Ida is left to watch her baby sister, a task she's not too fond of. Ida is much more caught up in her own world. Yet when her sister is kidnapped by goblins, Ida must go off on a magic adventure to rescue her. She's not wholly devoted to the quest at first--and nearly passes her sister right by when she becomes absorbed in the magic of the quest. In the end, she rescues her baby sister, destroys the goblins and returns home--this time firmly responsible for her sister and determined to be so until her father returns home. It is not a comfortable tale, but it is one that highlights feelings that young children may have and discusses them in a format they can identify with.
The language and pictures are beautiful and stunningly poetic, in typical Sendak style. But the story and the way its told can be frightening for some children; themes of kidnapping by goblins, the ice-baby left behind, and Ida's making the goblins dance themselves away, all conjure images that hit on some primal fears and discomforts. The author is not trying to make us comfortable, but that's what makes him such a good author.
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By A Customer on October 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I can understand why some might hesitate to read this book to young children -- my mother refuses to read it to my girls, who are just-turned-two and almost-five. But my girls, both of them, ADORE this book. It seems to speak to them on some deep level. Sendak knows that we can't shield children from scary things; the best we can do is lie and pretend they don't exist, which undermines their trust in us, since they can sense the lie, and then they *are* scared. Sendak feels we should instead help them learn to deal with big scary things -- the scariest being our own fears, our anger, our mistakes.
My girls are enthralled by Ida's resourcefulness, her bravery, and the consequences of her initial carelessness. They instinctively understand the baby sister's vulnerability, the power of the father's love. They love it when Ida outsmarts the baby-goblins. I urge people not to prejudge this book, but to let your child decide whether he likes it or not. It is very powerful, and very beautiful.
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Format: Hardcover
My daughter and I read this book 4 to 5 times a day. She is captivated by the baby goblins and feels very strongly about Ida, and how she searches for her sister. She has pretty much memorized the book and I hear her walking through the house singing softly about Ida & how much her PaPa loves her. I highly recommend this book to any parent for their child.
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Format: Paperback
My personal opinion is that it's disturbing. Almost like it was written in a drug induced haze. Sendak always gets high marks from critics and other parents for his outside the box style of writing, but I'm always left wondering who his books are really for. Do I think "Outside over there" is going to cause young children to need therapy later in life? No, of course not. It's just a really oddball book. For the record, my kindergartener giggled all the way through it, but then became convinced that goblins really did come and steal babies. This was a rather short lived little fear for her, but worth mentioning. I also feel the need to mention that I'm not some super politically correct helicoptor parent trying to protect my kids from every little unpleasantness in the world. I'm sure I read and let my kids be entertained in ways that would make some of the supermoms in the PTA peg my kids for extensive therapy and jailtime later in life. I just don't love this book. Something about it doesn't sit right with me. Perhaps its because of the limited words in the story coupled with bizarre illustrations. Who knows...others seem to love this book, but reviews like mine also need to be published to provide some balance and a different perspective. Of course, you will recognize the bare bones of Labyrinth here, and David Bowie as the Goblin King is inarguably more traumatizing than anything found in this book...but I wouldn't recommend that movie for younger children either. This is listed in the 4-8 years old range, but really this is a case by case basis sort of book. Not all kids are created equal as to what they can handle, and the themes in this one run pretty deep. If your child is particularly sensitive probably not the best call. Mine is a trooper and I thought for sure she'd be fine with it...did not expect her to become convinced her dolls would disappear if she left them unattended.
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Format: Hardcover
If Maurice Sendak had sat in his office one day and pondered to himself, "I should like to stretch my artistic muscles a little", he could not have come up with anything better than the eerie "Outside Over There". The plot is a classic one. Big sister Ida cares for her little baby sister while her father is a way and her mother pines in the arbor. When goblins steal the baby for their bride, it's up to Ida to go outside over there and get her sister back.
For those of you who thought Maurice Sendak made, "Where the Wild Things Are" and then just stopped, you are in for a surprise. This book is a fantastic series of images, exhibiting beautifully a young girl's love for her sibling. Sometimes thought to be the inspiration for the movie Labyrinth (not true: the book "Labyrinth" by A. C. H. Smith was the real basis), the book is beautiful in a way that simultaneously enchants and disturbs. For example, the hooded goblins are nothing more than babies themselves, and clever Ida finds a way to make them dance to their death. The changeling exchanged for Ida's sibling is an eerie ice statue, the most Sendakian image in this entire book. As for the pictures as a whole, the author has excused himself from his previous cartoonish style. The people pictured in this book are strikingly realistic, and they display emotion beautifully. The tender scenes between Ida and her little sister are touching.
This is not a book for everyone. But then, many of Sendak's books are not for everyone. To be a fan of the works of Maurice Sendak is to be comfortable with a certain amount nudity and oddity. Just the same, there are so many things to like about this book that I'd be sad to turn anyone away from it. I'll say this. You will never find its twin. This original piece of work is filled to the brim with interest and imagination, such as you will have a great deal of difficulty finding elsewhere.
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