Outside, You Notice
Outside, You Notice
Outside, You Notice things-
How after the rain
Everything smells greener
How lots of little noises
Make up one big quiet
The author and illustrator of this nonfiction treasure invite readers on a journey to explore the beauty and joy of nature and the outdoors that so many of us take for granted. This attitude might be especially true of the intended audience of young readers who immerse themselves in playing in nature’s playground without deep thoughts about their surroundings. And why shouldn’t they just revel in the joy of being present in the beautiful world outside! The book’s intent is not to diminish this pleasure, but to increase it with mindfulness by pointing out in a clever way various scientific details and facts, via green text boxes, that illuminate the beauty of our surroundings and encourage the reader to investigate further. For example, “Water always flows downhill. Most of it eventually ends up in the ocean.”
Rain, sounds, trees, leaves, flowers, tastes, seeds, and colors are some of the items explored, all appealing to a multitude of our senses. Remarkable attention is given to little things that
children might not normally notice as they interact with the environment. Benefits of exploring our world outside are also mentioned. “People who spend time in nature feel less anxiety and
stress.” Humor and lightheartedness are found both in the detailed boxes of information and in the accompanying drawings. “Eating huge amounts of carrots can turn a fair skinned person orange!”
Each double-page spread of nature features a softly colourful outdoor scene created by Andrea Blinick using pencil, gouache, collage and chalk pastels. These pictures are populated with diverse families as they visit backyards, gardens, farmers markets and parks. Many of the expressive drawings reflect the viewpoint of an active young child.
Readers of Outside, You Notice are left with wonder and appreciation for the things that surround them. The result is a warm, joyful and inviting environment that awaits us all. If
anyone ever doubted the benefits of spending quality time outdoors, this lovely book will dispel that notion. At the end of the book are suggestions for places to visit and explore that are echoed in the book. Further research about this author led to a YouTube presentation by Erin Alladin of how she came to write Outside, You Notice. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxpEji8oEXI)
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.