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Step Gently Out

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,523 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
Stunning close-up photography and a lyrical text implore children to look more closely at the world around them.

Be still, and watch a single blade of grass.
An ant climbs up to look around.
A honeybee flies past.

What would happen if you walked very, very quietly and looked ever so carefully at the natural world outside? You might see a cricket leap, a moth spread her wings,
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Candlewick
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 10, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing
I have lots of little soapboxes scattered around my home that I like to pounce on in idle moments. Big soapboxes. Little soapboxes. Anyone who knows me is forced to hear me expound from one of them at least once daily. It's rare that I get to shove two of them together, though. Usually they represent separate entities that don't overlap. Picking up the remarkably gorgeous work that is Helen Frost and Rick Lieder's Step Gently Out, however, allows me to stack one soapbox on top of another. That m ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Melody rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melody by: Wendy
Simple and lyrical, the poem illuminates the photographs, the photographs inform the poem. This is a book that Owen would have worn out from reading over and over. The photos are stellar- macro-lens insects and arachnids. It reads the way being a bug-obsessed kid feels, and brought back with crystalline clarity a certain afternoon I stood frozen in a cornfield watching one particular spider go about her life.
Mary Ann
May 31, 2012 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
Step outside, take some time to be still and just watch the world. Get down low to the ground or close to some plants, and you're sure to see tiny animals going about their business. Frost and Lieder have captured the wonder children experience as they notice these creatures.

Lieder's photography will be the first thing to grab children's attention. Each page brings the reader up close to an insect, as if you were right there crouching in the garden. The animals are caught in crisp, clear detail
Richie Partington
Mar 09, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: STEP GENTLY OUT by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder, photographer, Candlewick, March 2012, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-5601-0

“…the creatures shine with stardust,
they’re splashed with morning dew.
In song and dance and stillness,
they share the world with you.”

“Then Sam saw Gus do another bad trick. It made the firefly laugh and laugh. It was funny to see them go in free to the movie show.
“’Stop your tricks,’ called Sam. ‘No more words!’
“’Stop, Gus! Stop! Now STOP!’”
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost, illustrated by Rick Lieder features close-up insect photography and a lyrical poem encouraging children to look more closely at the natural world around them.

Lieder's stunningly beautiful close-up photography features honeybees, a Praying Mantis, a Tussock Moth caterpillar, an Eastern Black Carpenter ant, Striped Ground cricket, Chickweed Geometer moth, Orb Weaver spider, Common Yellow Jacket, Pavement Ant, Big Dipper Firefly, Greater Angle-wing Katydid, and Ebony
Angela Bailey
Title / Author / Publication Date:
Step gently out. / Helen Frost. Rick Lieder (Photographer). / 2012.

Genre: Nonfiction.

Format: Picturebook (in verse) - print.

Plot summary:
"Simple, evocative poetic language and close-up photographs invite youngsters to make observations about the natural world while profiling such subjects as a katydid's eye, a spider on a silken web and a glowing firefly" (NoveList).

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory:
nature, insects, poetry

Review citation:
Rebecca Reid
Jul 03, 2013 Rebecca Reid rated it really liked it
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and illustrated by Rick Lieder (Candlewick, 2012) is a lovely poem illustrated by photographs of the smallest creatures outside. Bees on a flower, an ant, a cricket singing, a spider on a silken thread. The poem is lovely, and the pictures invite the reader in to the natural world. I was amazed at how well the poetry and the images wove together. I found myself wondering which came first: the lovely poem or the images that captured the words. I am a very amateur ph ...more
Sep 14, 2013 Sadie rated it it was amazing
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost is a rhyming tale of the small creatures that share the world with us. I chose this book because I enjoy nature, and the cover is a photograph of an ant in it's natural environment. Before beginning the story, I looked at the end pages. The beginning end page showed a daytime photograph while the end end page showed a nighttime photograph. The differences provided insight that the story of this book goes from the start of the day to the end of the day. While readin ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Paula rated it really liked it
"Step gently out, be still and look closely at the world just outside your door-you are sure to be amazed by the tiny creatures you can find. You might see a cricket leap and land, a moth open her wings, a spider walking across the air, or maybe even a praying mantis looking back at you!"--Dust jacket. Close-up photos and lightly-rhymed declarative verse capture a bug's-eye view of nature and encouarge children to experience the world outside their doors with care and openness. Includes insect f ...more
Truly beautiful in words and images. You can tell it was written by a poet and not someone who decided it would be nice to write a rhyming picture book. And Rick Lieder's photographs of tiny creatures are soft, sparkly, and magical. This whole book is like a meditation. Don't forget to look closely at the world and it will reward you with beauty.
Pretty disappointing.

Basically: bugs on leaves paired with a large-font rhyming poem that I could probably write in eight minutes.
Stunning photographs of insects, spiders, and plants enhance Frost's simple poem. Back matter includes information about each creature.
May 10, 2012 Dolores rated it it was amazing
Absolutely STUNNING. What a tribute to nature and the beautiful little creatures we pass by every day without noticing.
The Styling Librarian
Gorgeous picture book with beautiful photographs and gorgeous poetic texts.
Kaitlyn Craig
Jan 17, 2017 Kaitlyn Craig rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book would be a great book to read to students in science when learning about insects. The message was conveyed really well, demonstrating what the different insects do. I liked the detailed pictures too!
Morgan Miller
Jan 16, 2017 Morgan Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
An easy read for young children
Jan 02, 2017 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Lyrical text and beautiful photographs make this a perfect read aloud!
I had no idea how much Noah would enjoy this book - he is continually drawn back to the beautiful photographs.

October 2016
Nov 27, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
Rick Lieder’s awe-inspiring, close-up photographic illustrations of a variety of insects in their natural habitats provide the perfect background to the gentle words of Helen Frost as she invites the reader to “step gently out” and bask in the whimsical wonders of nature, and to quietly observe and appreciate the oft-overlooked creatures with which we share our world. Young children will be fascinated by the image of a honeybee suspended in mid-flight with pollen covering its tiny underbody, and ...more
Edna Giesen
Sep 28, 2016 Edna Giesen rated it really liked it
Shelves: el-230
This book is sure to grab any readers attention on the shelf. I loved looking at the photographs in depth; they really draw you in. The words flow nicely throughout the story. This book gives you the chance to see the critters of the world in a new perspective.
Vera Godley
Aug 08, 2016 Vera Godley rated it it was amazing
If you've ever quietly watched an insect or "bug" you have probably noticed how they seem to move with practiced or deliberate ease and gentleness. So in Step Gently Out the author and photographer show us their beauty....

Frost and Lieder take us through the day - morning sunshine, evening shadows and dark, and then the dew of morning. This is a lovely trek through the day as ......

"In song and dance and stillness, they share the world with you."

A gentle reminder that we're not alone in this wor
Sep 21, 2016 elyse rated it it was amazing
beautiful picture book.
Emily Sisco
Jul 11, 2013 Emily Sisco rated it liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Insects
Pre-Reading Strategy: Rhyming Games

Before class, set out blank pieces of paper and plenty of coloring utensils. Have words picked out from the book for kids to rhyme with.

"Today we are going to look at rhyming. Before we read our story, I'm going to give you a word and I want you to draw a picture or write the word that rhymes with the one I gave you. For example, if I gave you the word tree, you could draw a picture of tea or a bee or write the
Kayla Kupinski
Dec 08, 2015 Kayla Kupinski rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-and-verse
This book contains a single poem that references many different insects a child might encounter if he or she took the time to gently view the surrounding world. There is a photograph of each insect mentioned. The poem is followed by a brief description of each insect mentioned. The author’s lyrical verse does a great job of presenting insects in a flattering light. Her style helps the reader associate insects with calmness, serenity, and beauty, which contradict more common views of insects. Fai ...more
Loree Burns
Jul 19, 2012 Loree Burns rated it it was amazing
It was the title that grabbed me first. Step Gently Out. There is an ethic in those words, and they have deep meaning for me. When the book was finally in my hands, though, it was the ant on the cover that pulled me in. He is not rendered in paints as I’d thought when I’d seen the book online, but photographed. Captured atop a slender leaf, antennae waving, stepping gently. Completely enchanting.

Would you believe that things got better from there?

Helen Frost’s text is charming, and I can tell yo
Cynnea Schreibman
Apr 28, 2015 Cynnea Schreibman rated it it was amazing
Frost, H., & Lieder, R. (2012). Step Gently Out. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press.

Step Gently Out shows the kinds of creatures you normally wouldn’t think to examine in nature like spiders, moths, crickets, etc. This book also explains in descriptive detail what the animals look like and act. It is lyrical poetry and shows stunning close up photographs. Critique: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, however, it could have had more words and substance to it because I think early grades level co
Mar 18, 2016 Erin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This picture book tells one poem with a line per page. Helen Frost encourages her readers to go outside and quietly observe the many insects that surround us in our gardens. The poem has a rhyme pattern to it which should engage younger readers. Each page has a stunning close up photograph (by Rick Lieder) to accompany the line from the poem. The contrast between the sharp detail of the insect and the blurred background is utterly gorgeous and encourages the reader to focus on just the insect an ...more
Carla Pelayo
Sep 27, 2012 Carla Pelayo rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Step Gently Out gives readers the opportunity to view the world through the eyes of an insect in this beautifully photographed book. Frost’s simple rhymes paired with Lieder’s close-ups will inspire the reader to slow down and discover the world with new eyes. Children will love to pour over the pictures and identify every arm, hair or mouth of the insects as well as the details of their environment. The story also encourages children, parents, and teachers to get out into nature and discover th ...more
Amy Forrester
Jul 19, 2016 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
In this beautiful poem Frost urges the reader to observe more closely as she points out the wonder of the insect world. Lieder’s stunning close-up photography complements Frost’s quiet poem by capturing not only resting insects, but insects in motion, from the cricket that “leaps /and lands, / then sits back / and sings” to the moth that “flies / in and comes / to rest with / open wings.” Brief information about the featured insects (habitat, life cycle, etc.) is included at the back of the book ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing
Stunning photography combines with beautiful, lyrical words to create this lovely, lovely book. Step Gently Out is the perfect title for this gentle introduction to the world of insects; it's also gentle reminder of the abundance of life surrounding us. I love the convergence of poetry, nonfiction and photography -- this can be shared with preschoolers, school-agers, adults, anyone.

Book signing and exhibition at FWMoA, April 6, 2012.

3 Starred Reviews (3.27.12): Booklist, PW and Kirkus.
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I'm dipping my toes into goodreads to see how it works. Thanks for finding me here, and thanks to everyone who has read and written about my books. I love to know you're there, even if I don't come here too often to say so.

Helen Frost is the author of six novels-in-poems and two picture books for children and young adults. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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