Outside in
by Underwood, Deborah; Derby, Cindy (ILT)

A mindful contemplation of the many ways nature affects our everyday lives compares the outdoors to a patient and generous friend who comes in to help and heal while reminding us that we are all part of a much greater universe. By the best-selling author of The Quiet Book. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Deborah Underwood has written numerous picture books, including New York Times bestsellers The Quiet Book, The Loud Book, and Here Comes the Easter Cat. She lives in Northern California with her feline muse, Bella. Visit her at www.DeborahUnderwoodBooks.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @underwoodwriter
Cindy Derby is an author, illustrator, and puppeteer. She has been a Grand Prize Winner of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Portfolio Award and her debut picture book How to Walk an Ant publishes this spring. She lives in San Francisco, California. 

Lovely, expressionistic art and poetic prose invite readers to contemplate nature's mystique and its role in everyday life, which is often taken for granted or goes unnoticed. The opening scenes set the pensive tone-"Sometimes even when we're outside . . . / we're inside. / We forget Outside is there"-while Derby's illustrations show a road surrounded by trees, followed by a girl in close-up, inside a car. In her home, the girl's experiences highlight how Outside makes itself known, such as when birds are silhouetted against a window, or is interwoven into daily indoor life, from the food we eat to what we wear ("Outside cuddles us / in clothes, / once puffs of cotton"). Ultimately, the girl heads outdoors, drawn to explore what's there. Through an evocative mix of aqueous washes and richer, more saturated tones, the color-washed, loose-brushed illustrations capture a sense of nature's intrigue, delights, and influence. While the lyrical text and concepts may be a bit too abstract or esoteric for younger children, the presentation and approach may still inspire reflection about interconnectedness in the natural world. Grades K-2. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Outdoors is part of people all the time, even when they're indoors. "Once we were part of Outside and Outside was part of us," opens the text. The premise that nowadays humans sometimes forget about Outside is belied so thoroughly and passionately by the illustrations that it barely registers—which works just fine in this love letter to nature. From opening spread to closing, nature is all-encompassing. Derby uses watercolors, powdered graphite, and thread or flower stems soaked in ink to paint full-bleed scenes bursting with dampness and leaves, branches and sticks, and qualities of light so various that they evoke different seasons and different weathers all at once. Outdoors, watery paint describes hanging branches or rain; leaves look liquid; large orange patches are treetops but evoke flower petals. Indoors, sunlight beams through glass panes to set a watery, purple-black hallway quietly aglow. Bits of dense color saturation and keen, crisp, sometimes prickly edges pierce, delineate, and offset the bountiful, wet, organic swaths. O utside "sings to us with chirps and rustles and tap-taps on the roof"; it "beckons with smells: sunbaked, fresh, and mysterious"; we feel it "in the warm weight of our cats and the rough fur of our dogs." The child character embraced by Outside (when both outdoors and in) has peach skin and long, straight, dark hair. Lushness without sweetness—wild, darkly romantic, and exquisite. (Picture book. 3-9) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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