Book Reviews: Exploring My Backyard
After reading all these backyard books, put on your sunscreen and hiking shoes and become a backyard detective with your child.
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Leider
There’s an ant reaching out to see what’s beyond his leaf on the cover of this book, and the title tells us everything about the style of the book, as well as good solid advice for backyard explorers. Jewel tone pages provide soft backgrounds for insect portraits that are perfectly combined with brief, delightful rhyming text; giving us a sweet, gentle window into the world of insects.
Backyard Detective: Critters Up Close photography by Nic Bishop
I love Nic Bishop’s nature books because he provides visual detail that puts it into context, whether of a grass lawn or in a tool shed, as well as wonderful close-ups of various critters. Bishop includes bits of information, so you can provide the basics, but it is the visual experience that children love. You will be amazed at how long a child will sit enthralled looking at bugs and other backyard creatures. Bishop’s books are always special. Check out all of them!
Quiet in the Garden written and illustrated by Aliki
Stillness helps a boy notice all the action in his garden as butterflies sip, worms squiggle, squirrels crunch, lizards snap and, suddenly, the garden is not-so-quiet, but full of life. Aliki gives us simple text for little ones and a pattern of questions from the backyard critters “Why did you do that?” answered by “I was hungry.”
I Love Bugs! written by Philemon Sturges, illustrated by Shari Halpern
A little boy, with camera in hand and a cat by his side, explores the backyard with a light-hearted rhyme and boldly outlined pictures. It’s a quick read, suited for toddlers, as it introduces the idea that it’s a joy to look at bugs, fun to take pictures, and lovely to play with baby sister (dressed as a ladybug)! You’ll find drawings of the boy’s photos on the end papers along with little facts about bugs, so keep the conversation going after you read by looking at these tidbits of information…then, grab a camera and go find some bugs!
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Bringing Books to Life
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Elizabeth Atack, Program Coordinator