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Nonfiction Monday: Outside Your Window by Nicola Davies

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
By Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Mark Hearld

Candlewick Press

ISBN: 9780763655495
Grades PreK-2
In Stores

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

There’s a lot of cookie-cutter children’s lit out there. But there’s also hope. One of my favorite elementary education trends of the 21st century has been the shunning of generic classroom reading for more authentic literature. The beautiful Outside Your Window is a beautiful reprieve from the generic. Format, text, illustration, style – you name it, this poetry/nonfiction mash-up has unique character in spades.

While a picture book in trim size and look, Outside Your Window raises the page count well above the 32 page standard. The approach is clear cut, with four main sections named after the four seasons. Each turn of the page brings a new poem on a topic related to that season. Some are straightforward – bulbs in spring – while others are less concrete – such as “Listen to the Pond”. The text mixes poetry and nonfiction with unexpected and often delightful results.

The mixed media illustrations are lovely. Each poem is given a two page spread, allowing the artwork plenty of space to shine. The overall vibe is hand-crafted and often retro. Prints, cut paper, paints – it’s an impressive amount of work.

So you’re set with standard nonfiction, you’ve got some plain poetry. Outside Your Window takes a creative step outside the norm that collections need.

Review copy from publisher

Be sure to check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Books 4 Learning.

Also reviewed by Waking Brain Cells, books4yourkids.com, Kirkus Blog.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. This book looks lovely! Thanks for featuring it.

  2. I requested this book from my library after reading your review here, and it lives up to your assessment as “often delightful.” It reminded me of the “throw-back” books of my own childhood that were carefully done and in whose pages I could happily lose myself for an entire afternoon. The art is especially lively and unique. Thanks for the recommendation!