Nonfiction Monday: Outside Your Window by Nicola Davies
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
By Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Mark Hearld
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
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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