BOOK REVIEW: Bringing the Outside In

I can’t get enough of children’s books that promote outdoor play. That combination – reading books & a love of nature – warms my heart. Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals is a new title the hits all the right marks: fun lyrical text for kids and parents alike, beautiful illustrations, and a strong message of the importance of spending time playing in nature, no matter how dirty you get.


Mary McKenna Siddals, Bringing the Outside In (New York: Random House, 2016), 32 pp. Illustrated by Patrice Barton.

Publisher’s description Nothing takes the place of splashing in a puddle or jumping into a pile of autumn leaves. Along with the mud and sand that gets tracked indoors come memories that live forever! Mary McKenna Siddals has written a joyous anthem that encourages children to play in the dirt. It will surely resonate with today’s overscheduled as well as sedentary kids, and their parents.

The book, geared toward ages 3 to 7, follows a group of four friends as they play outside in each of the four seasons, then return to one of the girls’ homes to get all cleaned up.

bringing the outside in

Spring brings “Boots full of puddle, Mud everywhere!” while Summer at the beach brings “Sun on our shoulders, Sand in our tails!” Leaves in Autumn and snow in winter make up what else needs to get cleaned up the rest of the year. Barton’s illustrations show these four kids happily playing followed by them happily taking care of their clothes and keeping their friend’s home clean. After four seasons of “Bringing the outside in…” they find themselves looking over photos of all their outdoor adventures, like the four above that look like excellent Instagram posts. I do hope they are tagged with my favorite tags: #natureplay, #playoutdoors, #wildtime, and #raiseawildchild (here’s my Instagram, if you want to check it out).

Bringing the Outside In says a lot about getting kids outside to play. One, kids should be allowed to play outside in every season. Two, kids should be allowed to get dirty, because clothes can be washed and kids can be bathed. And three, time spent outside, playing with friends, will be something kids will always remember, photos or no photos. So what are you waiting for, parents? Check out Bringing the Outside In and get your kids outside!

Also, check out the Facebook page for this book.


This entry was posted in books, nature play, parenting, photography, seasons, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to BOOK REVIEW: Bringing the Outside In

  1. Thanks so much, Michael, for shining such a generous spotlight on my BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN! Your lovely review conveys the joyful spirit of the book beautifully, and your enthusiasm for the importance of outdoor play is positively contagious!

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