BOOK REVIEW: Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking


Elin Kelsey, Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking (Berkeley, CA: Owlkids Books, 2015), 32 pp. Artwork by Soyeon Kim.

Without using the term, Wild Ideas is all about biomimicry – looking to nature’s innovations to model approaches to solving human problems (which become nature’s problems, too). Presented in the same fashion as their previous collaboration (You Are Stardust, 2012) Kelsey‘s to-the-point words and Kim’s dioramic art show active kids engaged with animals in the natural world. They witness animals in forests, oceans, and urban environments finding solutions to problems they encounter. For example, “Sea otters balance rocks on their bellies, perfect for cracking crabs.” And although they might come across problems, solutions are found through hard work and thinking things through. This suggests that kids can be problem solvers, too – and looking to nature and using creativity is a great start. Readers should make sure to look at the art depicted in the inside covers of the book, for more detail is shown about the various animals and how they solve specific problems. While the book does not suggest specific human problems that need solving (perhaps some kids already have an idea of some issues or they can learn about some from their teachers), the idea of this book is to push kids in a certain direction in attempting to find solutions. Wild Ideas could be paired with inquiry-based activities in class, or simply enjoyed on its own for its beautiful imagery full of depth and action. Below are a few images from the book (click to view them larger):

Wild+Ideas+spread+1 Wild+Ideas+spread+2 Wild+Ideas+spread+3 Wild+Ideas+spread+4

Learn more about Wild Ideas from the publisher, including lesson plans and podcasts.

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