If you haven’t seen Outside Your Window A First Book of Nature go check it out immediately! This is my favorite picture book of the year so far. With poetry written by Nicola Davies and illustrations by Mark Hearld, this book is absolutely stunning. The book is broken up into the four seasons with the artwork reflecting the change in color each season brings. Davies’ poems are playful and delightful, each one so observant of the world, as if you are reading through the eyes of a child. Below is one of my favorites:
Along the beach are pools the sea has left behind,
caught between the rocks or scooped in sand.
There are wide pools, where the weeds wave like a forest
and small fish swim like flocks of birds.
There are deep pools, with dark ravines and canyons
where the fiercest crabs can hide and snap their claws.
There are pools all filled with sunlight
and the sudden sparkle of backward-swimming shrimp.
Each pool is a little world all of its own,
and you can be the first person to discover it.
Reading this took me back to when I was little, searching the beach for pools of life during low tide. I love the description of tide pools being little worlds that you can discover. That is exactly how I saw them as a child. This is just one of the many wonderful poems in this book.
But before I read all the beautiful poetry, I was attracted to the art. The illustrations are GORGEOUS! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love them. I want to take every spread in this book and hang them on my walls! Here are a couple to give you just a taste…
Hearld creates his illustrations using mixed media, collage, as well as various printmaking techniques. His brush strokes on top of the collage and print work are delicate and whimsical. I felt like I was looking at a visual description of The Secret Garden. Wonderful creatures surrounded by a world full of color. I love that Hearld describes himself as somewhat of a magpie, collecting bits and pieces of material to use for his illustrations. As a cut paper/mixed media artist, I thought, that is the perfect description of what I do too!
I hope this post has inspired you to check out this wonderful book, it is a must have for any picture book lover.