Thursday, May 3, 2012

Outside Your Window

Title: Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature 
Author: Nicola Davies  
Illustrator: Mark Hearld
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: February 2012 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: 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 studying tide pools or lying back and watching the birds overhead. No matter what's outside their windows - city streets or country meadows - kids will be inspired to explore the world around them. Written by award-winning author Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld, a breathtaking new talent in children's books, Outside Your Window is a stunning reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered. 
What I Think: I am a huge fan of nature. I love camping and going on hikes (not that I do it that often...). This collection of poetry is a wonderful collection of nature-related poems. Some of them really stood out to me because of the verse and the illustrations for the poem. The collage-type artwork in this book is gorgeous. Both Shell Song and Spiderlings had artwork that was completely unique. The artwork really helped to capture the mood of the stories. I loved the repetitive phrases in Shell Song. It reminded me of the book Junonia by Kevin Henkes. The poem Spiderlings brough visions of little spiders going off into the world and reminded me of the end of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (which I just reread in April.) I love how poems connect with other stories, this is a great example of a text-to-text connection. These are also perfect examples of how easily poems can be read and discussed in conjunction with a read aloud or other reading being done with students. In my opinion, poetry doesn't have to solely be taught in isolation. Using poetry is a great way to connect a longer text with a shorter text instead of waiting to read an entire novel to see how two books can connect. There are so many poems in this book that are great for connecting with observations in nature. 
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 5 
Read Alone:  Grades Pre-K - 5 
Read With: The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano, Ava's Poppy by Marcus Pfister, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Junonia by Kevin Henkes 
Snatch of Text:   
Shell Song

Fans and cones and spirals
lying in the sand,
white and pink and yellow
in my hand.

Pyramids and angel’s wings
lying in the sand,
pearly cream and midnight black
in my hand.

Bishop’s hats and triton’s horns
lying in the sand,
needle sharp and mirror smooth
in my hand.
p. 46


What left this sea of silver
that shines and shakes,
as if the breeze was ruffling the surface of a lake?

It’s simply spider silk –
a million tiny strings,
the silken parachutes of baby spiderlings.
p. 66

Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Rereading, Visualizing 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Poetry, Expository, Narrative, Alliteration, Anaphora  
Writing Prompts: After reading the poems in the book, choose one poem to use as a mentor text, and write a poem about the nature in your life. Write expository text about the life cycle of a plant or how to plant a seed or garden. Write about a time in your life when you felt close to nature.
Topics Covered: Nature, Gardens, Animals, Ocean, Seasons, Observations
Jen *hearts* It:
*A giant thank you to the wonderful Candlewick Press for providing me with a copy for review*

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