Nonfiction Monday: Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Step Gently Out
By Helen Frost
Photographs by Rick Lieder
Poetry is oh-so-tricky. Go too concrete and rhyme-y, and you end up with stale platitudes. Go too abstract, and you can lose kids in a wash of linguistic flourishes. Special is the book that rides the fine line between the two, appealing to kids experiences while bringing the beauty. In both text and illustration, Step Gently Out is this sort of book.
There’s an entire world out there that’s easy to miss. Insects are all around us, but we often turn a blind eye. This poem begins with a call to take notice:
Step gently out,
a single blade
The poem proceeds to name a cast of backyard characters, and how they share our world. It’s a study in peacefulness that never strays from the message of being aware of your surroundings, because magical things are happening.
A while back, A Fuse #8 Production wrote an excellent post about the fact that there has never been a Caldecott Award or honor book comprised solely of photographs. I offer Step Gently Out for your consideration. The work of Michigan native Rick Lieder shines, beautifully interpreting the text and creating some thrilling moments along the way.
An excellent pairing of poetry and illustration, Step Gently Out is a 2012 standout, pure and simple.
Review copy from the publisher.
Watch the book trailer for Step Gently Out:
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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