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Monday, April 9, 2012

Sliter Slide, What's Outside? By Nora HIlb & Simon and Sheryl Shapiro. Annick Press, 2012. $8.95 ages 3 and up

"Stars are like magic,
shining at night.
Glistening, glittering,
like fairy light.


Oh, to be young again! I love the wonder that little kids show at every new discovery in nature and the magic that it holds for them. Our family walks were often delayed by Bret's need to stop and watch the water carry leaves to the storm drain, or to fill his pockets with the many rocks, bottle caps, and other collectibles he managed to discover as we ambled along the sidewalk.

This book, as I read it once and then again, took me right back to those days in the early 80s when we spent as much time outside as we could. Thinking back on them, those walks seemed interminable when there was laundry to do, lessons to prepare, and lunches to make. Thank goodness we didn't succumb to those menial tasks that seemed endless when spring invited us outside and the playground called our names.

All seasons are presented here, using clear and captivating photographs that inspire young children to emulate what they are seeing in nature. In Nora Hilb's playful artwork, we are observers of their actions when they pretend to be what they see. A picture of a hazy and colorful rainbow encourages two young siblings to try their hand at creating their own, using bright crayons. Surrounding them are their drawings, a rainbow-hued xylophone (you know the one!) and a building toy that has rings ranging through the colors found in a rainbow. And the crayons used, and the skirt that the little girl is wearing...the highlighted word is WOW! In another a little girl holds a paper windmill and tries to stay on her feet while the wind whirls around her. It faces a photo showing a line of wind turbines along a white wintry road. Here the highlighted word is WHIRR! The grass is blowing, the dog's ears are flapping, she has boots and a coat, colorful leggings and wind-mussed hair. Many of these details go unnoticed with the first reading; a return visit turns up something new each and every time. It is sure to find a spot on your 'new favorites' pile.

The language chosen will add to a toddler's repertoire, the photos spark imagination and the very specific highlighted endings to each rhyming couplet will encourage movement and further discovery. Could we possibly ask more of a 32 page picture book? Nope, it is perfect just as it is!

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