Monday, March 12, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Get Outside: The Kids' Guide to Fun in the Outdoors by Jane Drake and Ann Love, illustrated by Heather Collins

One of the collection development projects I've been working on is updating our crafts and activities section in the nonfiction. I've found a sad lack of really original craft books - I'm not looking for those over-priced, library bound editions with 10 crafts per book, and usually all things I've seen before. I was lamenting that I had all the Kids Can Press jumbo craft collections, when look what showed up on my desk!

Get Outside is a compilation of activities, facts, projects, and stories from four earlier books; The Kids' Cottage books by Jane Drake. This is the best of the best, presented in a format that will stay fresh and fun for years.

The book is divided into seasons, spring, summer, fall and winter. Each seasonal section has four collections of activities; nature lover, outdoor fun and games, snug inside, and look to the sky. The table of contents is nicely arranged with clear lists of all the projects and activities included and there is an index for further searching. Collins' simple black and white art, featuring a diverse cast of children enjoying the various activities, has a timeless quality that won't quickly date the book (unlike my craft books featuring photographs of children dressed in 80s styles).

The activities are neatly arranged in sections with numbered steps as needed, lists of materials, extra tips, related facts, and more. The instructions are clear and simple, easy to follow for any age, and the presentation is organized well. The seasons do assume the readers live in the northern states or Canada (makes sense since Kids Can Press is a Canadian publisher) so most of the winter activities involve snow. However, there are plenty of activities to choose from and most of the games can easily be adapted to any weather.

So, what kinds of activities and games are included? Everything from the traditional - building bird houses, planting a garden, playing card games, and looking for constellations, to the not-so-well known (at least to me) like putting on your own winter olympics, making a worm farm, and making your own midway games.

Verdict: If you're looking for simple, inexpensive, and fun activities to pry your children or library patrons away from the screen, this is the perfect title. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781554538027; Published March 2012 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates; Purchased for the library


Books4Learning said...

Wow! I am excited about this book. I am always looking for away to get my kids outside and away from the electronics. Thanks for sharing!

Mama Cass said...

Thank you for sharing! This book sounds great, as does creating your own worm farm.