Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Outside by Deirdre Gill

I have to admit I wasn't really grabbed by this cover, but I'm glad I listened to recommendations to try this one out.

The title page shows a dark green wall and, centered on the page, a window looking out at snowy trees. A small red dragon toy lounges on the windowsill. The next spread (whatever you call the pages with the publication information; I am drawing a blank) shows a pale blue landscape and a lonely trail of footprints leading to and around a trio of trees. The story begins with a snowy day and a bored little brother. Reluctantly, he sets out alone into the snowy wilderness. His red coat stands out brightly against the soft shades of white and blue. Surrounded by looming, snow-covered trees he begins to create; a giant snow dog and then a castle. His creations come to life in a blaze of color as a dragon appears and they soar across the snowy landscape. Finally, he bids farewell to his snowy creations in the twilight and heads home, where he meets his brother, finally ready to play outside.

This is a wonderful tribute to winter and imagination. I love how the story encourages solitary, imaginative play and the little boy embraces both his time alone playing outside and having fun with his brother. The text is extremely brief and simple, the force of the story coming from the softly glowing pictures that expand the simple story into a creative tour de force.

Verdict: Even if you don't live in a place where snow is familiar, this is a simple and lovely celebration of imagination and play. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780547910659; Published 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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