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Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  350 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This gorgeously illustrated volume of poetry — sprinkled with facts and fun things to do — sows an early love for nature in all its beauty and wonder.

The buzz of bees in summertime. The tracks of a bird in the winter snow. This beautiful book captures all the sights and sounds of a child’s interactions with nature, from planting acorns or biting into crisp apples to studyi
Hardcover, 108 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Candlewick
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2013 Mock Caldecott
48th out of 97 books — 235 voters
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111th out of 154 books — 226 voters

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Community Reviews

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GORGEOUS! I heart everything about this nature book. It's poems, the illustrations (!!), the paper it is printed on, and the earnestness in which it endeavors to interest children in nature. Well-done!
I must admit that I don't read a lot of children's poetry, but one of the things I've been trying to do is broaden my appreciation of children's books in general. I fell so in love with the illustrations & design of Outside Your Window that I ended up reading the poetry and not just the illustrations. While I try not to buy too may books, I kept going back to pick this one up and reasoned that if I waited to have children, it would probably be out of print, so if I loved it (and I do!) I had ...more
Patricia Powell
“Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature” by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld (Candlewick 2012) is a stunning work.
The 110 page picture book progresses through the seasons, starting with spring. The poems are simple and straightforward for the most part. Which makes the author’s occasional metaphors and similes light up her poems.
The spectacular art, which we’re told is mixed media, draws you into the author’s observations of each poem. By the look, I’d say the artwork is a coll
Emily Valenti
When my former colleague brought this book into school I fell in love with the beautiful illustrations and knew I had to buy it. Each and every page is rich with an exciting new landscape waiting to be explored through the poems and artwork. With its short verses and stunning illustrations in a sturdy hardback cover this book would be a joy to read to any class (Rec, Y1) where everyone can join in the experience. It would be valuable for a ‘Countryside’ topic as it could help to cover many aspec ...more
This is a lovely book that I shared with my granddaughter who is kindergarten age. She loved the first few poems that we read, but she lost interest rather soon. I don't think it was because of a poorly written book as much as it was her age and interest in the subjects. I think that her older brother would have liked it better because he is older and because he likes science. The information is presented in free verse poems. I enjoyed the language in many of them, but found some of them more li ...more
Meghan Collins
I have to start by saying the illustrations in this book are amazing! This book is a first look at nature, and the illustrations did just that. They are so descriptive and take up the entire page. While a teacher is reading these poems to students, they are becoming involved in these stories because of the illustrations. For the younger students, these illustrations will really help them comprehend what is being read to them. I loved this book for this reason, and this is what resonated with me ...more
Danielle Zuhlke
1.)City Dog Country Frog by Mo Willems (June 8, 2010).
2.)The twin-text is a story about friendship. In the springtime, the city dog makes friends with a frog when visiting the country. The two friends meet again in the summer time, and again in the fall. The city dog comes back in the winter, and his friend isn’t there. The city dog is very sad, but in the springtime, makes a new friend. The backdrop of the story is the changing seasons. In Outside Your Window, the author also touches on the lif
The poems are lovely and the pictures have great depth. It's subtitled "A First Book of Nature" which in my mind indicates a very young audience but this book is far to sophisticated for that age group, the size is also awkward for small hands.
Melissa Mcavoy
A gorgeous large format book filled with short poems about the everyday natural world. Snippets of information are seamlessly worked into the text and shown in bold and colorful realistic illustrations. The poems are not especially memorable, but the beautiful illustrations and the emphasis on a connection to the natural world carries the book. My main complaint is there is no diversity among the pictured humans. It could be that it is all one white family, which is fine, but that fact combined ...more
I read this book with my 2 and 4-year-old sons. It was their first exposure to poetry - and after reading it all the way through with them (100+ pages), I have to say this is an amazing book. Simple, beautiful poetry that captures the beauty of the world and a childhood spent in nature, playing, learning, observing. On a tangent: one of the poems, about worms, even has the word poop - never thought I would see that one in a poem. But the poetry isn't silly, just straightforward and eloquent. The ...more
Lovely and graceful poetry, accurately evoking all of the feelings of being outside during all four seasons. During the spring poems, I could hear the rain, during the summer poems, I could practically feel the warmth of the sun on my face (though maybe that was the building's heat going a little overboard...). I could feel the fall's crisp air and taste its delicious treats, and winter feels warm and cozy from inside.

I especially loved the Pond Dipping poem - makes me feel like I am 10 years ol
Julie Rand
The first thing I noticed about this book was the size. The large format lends itself to the beautiful illustrations and the subject matter: the breadth and wonder of nature.

The opening pages are just as inviting as the collage image on the cover and include a page on which the child can write his or her name. Through a series of poems organized by season, Davies invites children and their caretakers to experience nature using all the senses of sight, smell, feeling and sound. Reading the poems
Such a busy week with company and wonderful Christmas celebrations. I’m trying to read all the poetry nominations for the Cybil’s awards before I am given a list of the finalists for the 2nd round judging. This time I found Outside your Window, A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld. It’s a beautiful compilation of poems and information about nature through all the year, beginning with spring. This will be read over and over to young ones, showing them different asp ...more
Iowa City Public Library
Nicola Davies is a zoologist and an award-winning author who’s written many books for children. Of writing Outside Your Window, she says, “I cast off my grown-up self and found the me I was at five or six. From inside that younger self I could see the world as I saw it first–not just the sights and sounds of nature but also the feelings and the thoughts about it that ran through me, strong as the tide. This book comes to you from that little girl, who sat in a barley field at dusk and felt the w ...more
It's rare indeed to find books of children's poetry so enormous these days. The 58 poems in this collection pay homage to the seasonal wonders of nature with 14 poems celebrating spring, 18 extolling the wonders of summer, and 14 focusing on fall. Poor winter only elicits 12 poems. There are free verse poems here as well as rhyming lines, but most of all, the lines remind readers to pay attention to the intriguing natural world that lies just outside their windows. There are wonderful sensory im ...more
Michelle Murphy
"Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature" written by Nicola Davies is a dazzling read in it's lyrical presence and it's brilliant illustrations. Written in free verse poetry, this book follows the seasons and observes it's patterns and changes. Eyeing stars, birds constructing nests, apples ripe for fall, snow falling all around and other naturally occurring developments are all beautifully described and cataloged.

This book is for young readers, especially readers who are interested in poetr
Nov 16, 2012 Jessica marked it as hikedigitalbookshelf
Outside Your Window is a informational picture book about the nature you are surrounded by. Whether you live in a city or a country nature is all around you. This book contains amazing illustrations to portray the beauty of the this poetic book. It sends a stunning reminder that nature is right at our doorsteps waiting to be discovered.

I think this book would be appropriate for all elementary grades. It could be made simple for younger students by just looking at natures characteristics. While f
This beautifully written and illustrated collection of poems follows the changing seasons and introduces children to natural processes like bulbs sprouting in spring and dandelions turning to seed: (“Dandelions bloom like little suns./but the flowers don’t last long-/they fold up like furled umbrellas pointing at the sky”). Zoologist and author, Nicola Davies evokes the feel of each season with concise and observant free verse: “Winter is a slow, low time. Everything/is hiding from the cold; jus ...more
Jun 21, 2014 Marcie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Marcie by: Katie Darren
Candlewick is amazing. This book is so well put together I can see it as a coffee table book. The poetry can serve as great mentor writing for students when teachers ask them to write poetry to display their learning about Nature. Would be interesting to pair this with Fourth of July which is poetry set up by seasons. I know this came out in 2012, but somehow I missed it.
Amber Hestwood
What an absolutely charming book. 'Outside Your Window' is a beautifully illustrated book of poetry for children about nature. It covers all four seasons and the many wonders that each has to offer. It is very down to earth and simple, natural. This would be a great book for preschool to second grade. I would use this as an excuse to hold class outside. I would take the class on nature walks, read the book outside, then come back in for writing activities and art activities. It is a great exampl ...more
You will want your own copy of this book especially if you have preschool or early grade children in your home. The four seasons are beautifully illustrated with poetry plus a few science activities and recipes thrown in. This book makes a wonderful lap book that isn't meant to be enjoyed in one sitting.
Liz B
Beautiful pictures, boring content, mediocre and utterly forgettable poetry. And SO LONG. I kept hoping for something better. I am clearly not the target audience...what's more, I never was. I can't imagine liking this as a child.
Xin Luan
This beautiful book captures all the sights and sounds of a child’s interactions with nature. There are lovely poems and beautiful illustrations in this book. Children who are interested in nature will fall in love with this book.
Out of the Stacks
I can't wait to read this with students! Not only are the mixed media illustrations gorgeous and reminiscent of picture books from my childhood (1970s), the text is just right: not too flowery, not too sparse. It is divided into the four seasons (there is a table of contents) with each season containing at least 12 short, poetic narratives or instructions or how to build or make something (a den, a berry crumble), and most are on gorgeous double-page spreads that depict the common scenes of the ...more
This collection of poetry is filled with completely illustrated pages. This book goes through the seasons and paints a picture of what you would see. It is also filled with advice on how best to observe what is around you.

Recommended age 7-12
Reading Level 3rd-5th grade
Green Bean
Fungi and spiderlings. Tidepooling and pond dipping. Milking. Making hay. Baby birds. Outside Your Window is a ceaselessly charming first book of nature. "Sometimes, in the rain and dark, / worms come up from underground. / They seem to small to be important, / but watch ... the worms are recycling. They pull dead leaves into their burrows for a feast, / then poop them out in tiny heaps called casts / that turn into a covering of rich new soil." Nicola Davies' haiku-ish expertise on a host of cr ...more
An absolutely gorgeous book that is also educational and entertaining. I can't imagine how long it took to write and illustrate the many wonderful poems. Just when I thought I had a favorite spread, another came along to take my breath away. I think this book could serve as a wonderful model for students to write and illustrate their own nature poems. It's a shame in its current format that you'd be limited to viewing one spread at a time; maybe this would be a good candidate to purchase as an e ...more
Allison Ford
This book is a poetry book about nature. Davies does a great job with showing the readers different aspects of the year in the out of doors. He brings not only sights with his words but he adds all the other senses too, it is a very descriptive ad well written poetry book. For example, Dandelions (Dandelions bloom like little suns.), Tide Pooling (Along the beach are pools the sea has left behind.), Acorn (You must be patient if you plant an acorn.), and Winter Trees (Winter trees are naked.). I ...more
A beautifully illustrated book of short, wonderful poems about nature. I put off reading this book for a few days because it's a pretty fat book and I'm sorry that I did. Once I opened this richly illustrated book, I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the pictures and reading the short, almost nursery-rhyme like poems. The poems are organized by season and a variety of animal, plant, and outdoor experiences are included in the text and pictures.

This is a beautiful book to share with children ag
Explore nature through the seasons in this lush book of poetry that starts with the first moments of spring with melting icicles and the green shoots of bulbs. Summer is filled with butterflies, chickens, baby birds and bees. Autumn comes with leaves, wind, geese and acorns. And winter ends the year filled with snow, deer and ducks. The poems range from merry verse with lighter tones to atmospheric pieces that make you stop and think. It is this range of moods and depth that makes the book so ve ...more
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"I was very small when I saw my first dolphin," says zoologist Nicola Davies, recalling a seminal visit with her father to a dolphin show at the zoo. Enchanted at the sight of what she called the "big fish" jumping so high and swimming so fast, she determined right then that she would meet the amazing creatures again "in the wild, where they belonged." And indeed she did--as part of a pair of scie ...more
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