A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows how nature can affect a kid, and how elements of the outside can be found in our inside world.
Connection with the outside brings joy and peace.
Positive Role Models
The main character is curious about the world outside.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Deborah Underwood's Outside In, ilustrated by Cindy Derby, won a 2021 Caldecott Honor. It's a simple reminder, on beautifully illustrated pages with a touch of sadness, that the outdoors is full of wonder even when we've come back inside. In just a few words, each page shares the idea that we can bring the outdoors with us as bugs, sticks, and food, and also with the feelings of warmth, light, and the wonder of nature. Younger readers will benefit from talking about the story so they can make more solid connections to their own experiences. The illustrations might make some readers feel a bit melancholy even though the words are meant to be uplifting.
Is It Any Good?
There's a lovely message here about the importance of our connection with nature, but the warmth of the words can get muddled with the moody, slightly melancholy images. Outside In helps emerging readers see that all the things they love outdoors can bring them joy indoors. Cindy Derby's watercolor illustrations, though, bring a sadness to many pages, showing the girl not happy where she is. Talking about the story as it unfolds will help the younger set understand and process their feelings, and see the beauty in the words.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Picture Books with Truly Amazing Illustrations
Environmental Books for Kids
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