Outside, You Notice Reviews

Kirkus ★ Starred Review

A fair-skinned girl with rosy cheeks and long, dark braids sits in a tree among golden-brown squirrels underneath the shade of a thick canopy of green leaves.“Sensations noticed in the outdoors are supplemented by interesting facts about nature in a variety of settings….The detailed text and varied images immerse readers in the feeling of being outside, fully attentive and relaxed. Readers will be encouraged to explore natural settings and observe the creatures in them as well as the experiences within their own bodies. The illustrations use soft coloring, varied perspectives, and active characters to great effect, pulling observers into the worlds of plants, animals, and the people who love them.

This lovely book is more than the sum of its parts.”

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“As this blend of fiction and nonfiction emphasizes observation, it also leads up to a mindfulness of being present when outside. The final scene, a soothing bird’s-eye view of a girl looking up at the sky, reminds readers that listening to nature can help them relax and that being outdoors can boost the immune system, among other facts. A charming, gentle nudge to go outside and simply be.”

—Angela Leeper

School Library Journal

“Alladin depicts a journey through backyards, parks, gardens, trails, markets, and playgrounds….Blinick’s illustrations offer a sense of excitement and serenity, showing cheerful children with light and dark skin tones and different physical abilities. The text and art showcase the idea that ‘spending time in nature is good for the health of your body and mind.’…This exploration of the outdoors is fit to use for budding biologists.”
–Nancy Call, ­formerly at Santa Cruz P.L., Aptos, CA

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Seattle Book Review

“We rated this book: [4.5/5]…

This is a thoughtful, reflective story about the healing power of spending time outdoors. Playing in the vibrant sunshine, picking fruit from ripened vines, and exploring in the moist dirt enables children to receive a plethora of benefits Mother Earth has to offer. Their senses are heightened, bodies exercised, and immune responses boosted. An array of other fascinating facts are shared by the author in colorful text boxes. Vibrant watercolor illustrations that are full of detail and allure are in plentiful supply. This light-hearted, relatable, and timely text will bring youth new enlightenments each time they sift through its pages.
—Jennifer Padgett

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Canadian Review of Materials

“The author and illustrator of this nonfiction treasure invite readers on a journey to explore the beauty and joy of nature and the outdoors that so many of us take for granted. This attitude might be especially true of the intended audience of young readers who immerse themselves in playing in nature’s playground without deep thoughts about their surroundings….

Each double-page spread of nature features a softly colourful outdoor scene created by Andrea Blinick using pencil, gouache, collage and chalk pastels. These pictures are populated with diverse families as they visit backyards, gardens, farmers markets and parks. Many of the expressive drawings reflect the viewpoint of an active young child.

Readers of Outside, You Notice are left with wonder and appreciation for the things that surround them. The result is a warm, joyful and inviting environment that awaits us all. If anyone ever doubted the benefits of spending quality time outdoors, this lovely book will dispel that notion. At the end of the book are suggestions for places to visit and explore that are echoed in the book. Further research about this author led to a YouTube presentation by Erin Alladin of how she came to write Outside, You Notice. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxpEji8oEXI)

Highly Recommended.”
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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Winnipeg Free Press

“In this well-illustrated non-fiction picture book, Alladin explores the many things children can learn outdoors: how some seeds can fly and how others may survive for thousands of years; how petals of some flowers are edible and how their colours and smells attract pollinators; why the smell of rain remains after a downpour, and more.

Both in forests and on city streets, Alladin explains how different trees have different leaves and how soil is full of rich decomposed life that will nourish new seeds.

Andrea Blinick of Toronto has added child-friendly pictures of gouache, coloured pencil, collage and chalk pastel that add to the attraction of this little volume.”

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Metroland Toronto

Outside, You Notice is an infor­mative picture book that encourages children to get outdoors and observe things. These observations are com­plemented with information about a variety of things including animals, trees, flowers, seeds, pollination, wa­ter and soil (i.e. “Soil is a mixture of tiny pieces of rock and tiny pieces of decomposed plants.”)

Some of the many health benefits of being outdoors and being in nature is also included such as feeling less anxiety and improving your immune system. Some of the places shown in the book are: back yard, park, garden, sidewalk, hiking trail and playground.

Outside, You Notice is a nicely illustrated picture book that will have kids looking forward to spending time outside.”

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Green Teacher

“Readers are invited to observe and take pleasure in the natural treasures around them in this charming non-fiction picture book. Each page spread elicits readers’ sense of wonder and joy through the main text, which is accompanied by relevant supporting facts in plentiful text bubbles throughout. Readers will learn about topics including animal habitats, decomposition, trees, and water. Outside, You Notice will help young readers (aged 4–7) develop an appreciation for nature. Written by Erin Alladin; illustrated by Andrea Blinick. – (NC)”

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

What did you like about the book? This is a lovely book about the joy of discovering nature in the outdoors. Whether in a yard, a city park, a playground or on the sidewalk, there are things to appreciate if you look….Friendly-feeling gouache, pencil and chalk art with collage shows a warm, accessible natural world to investigate. Children of various races and abilities are depicted. Simple descriptive labels add more information to the main text. I like that readers can just read the main text for the youngest listeners, and can add the informational details for older listeners….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes”
Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

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CanLit for Little Canadians

“How often do we notice things, especially things in the outdoors, that are right under our noses? Erin Alladin wants us to open our eyes, ears, noses and touch the world to know the wonders that our world holds outside, no matter what your outside looks like. As children and others participate in the world outside, whether it be a backyard, a park, a playground, a sidewalk or something else, there are so many things to check out, and Erin Alladin makes sure we see it all.

We discover how animals make the outdoors their homes, how they live, and the sounds they make. We learn about life cycles of plants, from seeds and germination, to flowers and fruits. Above ground and below, along water ways and at farmers’ markets, there is so much to see and learn.”

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Children’s Book News (Canadian Children’s Book Centre)

“In this non-fiction picture book, Erin Alladin’s lyrical text encourages the reader to notice sensory details—such as how everything smells greener after the rain and the sound of tumbling water—within a variety of outdoor spaces—from backyard gardens to farmers’ markets and hiking trails. Boxed facts add depth and detail, exploring topics such as seed germination, pollination, and the health benefits of spending time outdoors.

Andrea Blinick’s energetic mixed-media illustrations present a diverse community of humans interacting with nature in positive ways. Young readers will delight in the details to explore in Blinick’s lively scenes, tempting them to taste a strawberry warmed by the sun, dig in dirt up to their elbows, and experience the buzz of a hummingbird flitting nearby.

From microbes in the soil to a rainbow in the sky, Outside, You Notice is an invitation to pay attention to the natural world around us in concrete, physical ways. With themes of healthy living, the science of nature, and curiosity, it will spark wide-ranging and cross-curricular conversations and ignite a passion for outdoor living.

Outside, You Notice is an inspirational and practical call to engage with the outdoors—one that will lead young readers to explore their own environments.” —Karen Krossing is an author for kids and teens.

Mrs. Book Dragon

“Our imaginations go wild when we are outside and this book celebrates and brings that experience to life. I love the lyrical format of Erin’s words and when combined with Andrea’s gorgeous illustrations make this book unforgettable.”

Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Kids’ Reads

“A book review by Rosie, age 4
Welcome, Rosie! Can you tell us what this book is about?
Outside, You Notice is a book about noticing things in nature. Also, if you eat too many carrots you might turn orange.
What do you like about this book?
I like the rainbow kite.
What is your favourite part of the story?
I like the flower page and the little boy picking the dandelions. I liked learning that broccoli is a flower.”

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Fab Book Reviews

“Informative, with short educational (and fascinating!) notes, Outside, You Notice is a lovely read, blending lyrical storytelling with non-fiction material. Andrea Blinick’s art- a mix of chalk pastel, collage, gouache and coloured pencils- is warm, colourful and inviting; a happy match to Erin Alladin’s conversational, friendly text. Whether used as a read aloud for an outdoor/nature theme, or used more specifically as a starting point to learn about nature in city parks, how gardens grow, the magic of soil, or about pollination (and more!), there is so much to explore and enjoy with Outside, You Notice.”

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Jane Whittingham

“OUTSIDE YOU NOTICE celebrates the many natural wonders all around us, from the dirt beneath our feet to the leaves in the trees above us – things that are so familiar we might not even notice, but wish are no less wonderous. A gently poetic text is paired with fascinating facts to create a book that would work with a wide range of age groups. It’s an ode to the natural world that surrounds us every day, a celebration of the healing power of being outside. An all-around lovely book.”

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Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“On the spread we encounter yes, dandelions and marigolds, but much more. Tidbits of factual information regarding petals, pollination, blooming and bees are carefully highlighted on both pages. (And, don’t miss the fearless leader of our flower picking trio, standing center on top of a bucket.) These tidbits of factual information, at first glance casual in nature, are actually pulling double-duty. Not only will they maintain kids’ interest (and adults’), but they also aid in the development of reading comprehension by providing factual information in a light-hearted, engaging way; thereby supplementing a child’s prior knowledge when later broaching the same or a similar subject.”

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