BOOK REVIEW: Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature

I like nature books that are intended for kids to immerse themselves in – ones that they can pick and choose which pages to be particularity interested in at a certain time. Outside is just such a book:


Maria Ana Peixe Dias and Inés Teixeira Do Rosário, Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature (Minneapolis, MN: Quarto Knows/Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016) (first published in Portugal in 2014), 368 pp. First published in Portugal in 2014 (translated by Lucy Greaves) and illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho.

Publisher’s description Who does this footprint belong to? What is this worm up to? What is the name of this tree? Even if we live in the city, nature is still all around us: clouds and stars, trees and flowers, rocks and beaches, birds, reptiles or mammals. What are we waiting for? Let’s jump off the couch and begin exploring! Created in collaboration with a team of Portuguese experts, this book, which won the coveted Bologna Regazzi award, aims to arouse your curiosity about fauna, flora and other aspects of the natural world. It includes suggestions for activities and many illustrations to help the whole family get started, leave the house, and go out to discover – or simply admire – the amazing world that exists outdoors.

An introductory chapter discusses humans role in nature, why the authors wrote this book, what types of places kids can go to to explore in nature, safety tips, and what to bring with you. Following the introductory chapter are those on specific topics, from animal clues, bugs, trees, and birds to rocks, oceans, and the sky. These chapters describe the many types of animals one might see and  variety of natural phenomena and processes one might observe in simple, understandable text (the book is geared toward ages 8-12). Likewise the accompanying varied artwork is simple, yet welcoming – from line drawings and silhouettes to grayscale illustrations and full-color paintings (in a glossy-paper spread at the center of the book), and many combinations of such. Ideas for activities are included throughout, as well as a glossary of terms at the end. There is a lot packed into this beautiful hardback book, and I think kids would enjoy thumbing through it pages and getting inspired to put Outside down and then head outside to see what they can find.

Visit this post from The Guardian to see images of some of Bernardo P. Carvalho’s artwork for the book, including this forest scene:


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