Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature (Hardcover)
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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.
About 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.
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
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)
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.
Oversized matte pages with full-bleed illustrations in rich complex hues suggest classic twentieth-century treasuries, and indeed the mixed-media art (which includes paints, prints, and collage work) recalls the spirited and earthtone-touched work of the Provensens. The combination of designerly patterning and vigorous individual style is particularly strong in the critters, as in the intricate barring on the wings of the wide-eyed chickens or the rough multi-toned coat on the russet fox.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
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.
—School Library Journal
The book is not so much a book of poems about nature, though, as much as it is a book of nature written in verse, targeting young children and communicating with them quite effectively.
It’s a real treat to see such a lovingly, thoughtfully designed book, a big book with a real presence. (And you want to be sure to remove the jacket flap to see the cover, not to mention the retro endpapers.) This is one of those books you run your hand over and flip through and generally ooh and ahh about before you even read the first page and take in Hearld’s expansive spreads. It’s simply not to be missed.
—Kirkus Children's Books blog
This is a beautiful book, thick and sturdy and elegant, printed on paper that seems to whisper under the fingers.
—Wall Street Journal
The eye-catching illustrations and evocative language will have most kids reading a selection and then popping outside to check out the stars “making pinprick patterns in the night” or looking for worms that “seem too small to be important, but watch...the worms are recycling.”
Nicola Davies’ descriptive vignettes and Mark Hearld’s Caldecott Medal-worthy drawings brilliantly capture the astounding magic tricks that the world produces with reliable ease. Whether the scene outside your child’s window is that of rainbows and bucolic pastures of sheep or simply tomatoes being grown on the fire escape, this book celebrates it with an equal measure of awe.
I can't think of a more beautiful way to honor [Mother Earth] than with this lovely book of poems.
—Huffington Post Parents
Hearld's eye-catching collages give this collection of poems about the seasons a handmade quality that will instantly make it a favorite.