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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inside Outside, by Lizi Boyd. Chroncle Books, Raincoast. 2013. $17.99 ages 2 and up

"What is happening
outside today?
Peek through the window
to find out.
What is happening inside?
Peek again!

It's books like this one that make me wish I had a little one at my beck and sit and snuggle, to talk and reread, to think and think again about what there is to see in the inviting world that Lizi Boyd has created. It is an opportunity to explore a world separated from inside and outside by a window that allows the child to be part of both of those worlds.

There is so much for a child right at home. All it takes is curiosity, observation and a plan to get outside. As the venue for this young boy's exploration moves from inside the house to outside on alternating pages, a rapt audience will see what happens when he brings the outside in. All that is inside is natural and organic, coming straight from the time he spends in the glorious outdoor world found in his own backyard.

As the boy moves through the door from one world to another, there is a celebration each time of all there is to see and recapture in one place or the other. While snowmen still peek through the window, the boy is busy potting seeds that will soon be ready to be put in the garden. Then he goes outside to add to his snowman family. Spring showers bring a playful turtle up from his winter home to find a place in a readied bowl for indoor observation. Warm weather invites outdoor play and a reminder that a little sailboat would be a welcome addition to the variety there. Inside he goes, to make one.

The joy is found in these seemingly simple visuals created on brown craft paper; but, so much thought has been given to every image created to fill the double page spreads. A die-cut window can be found on every page offering readers a chance to speculate on what might happen next, what has happened before, and encouraging discussion at every turn.
Of the children who are sure to read and enjoy her book, Lizi Boyd says:

"Children are brilliant in their imaginary worlds. I’m envious of their eye, strength of  images and prolific naivety. Their physical worlds are also filled with stories and some children become keen observers and in turn narrators. We, the adults, nurture our children and allow them the quiet to explore. Seeing and telling stories is a part of all our lives. It is through stories that we amuse, share, comfort, connect. Imagine being given a long scroll of paper, a bamboo pen, a bottle of ink and being asked to illustrate your days. It would be your own pictorial mapping; ancient , modern, timeless."

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