Kids want to experience this book again and again. It’s an excellent one for fostering language on many different levels.
Inside Outside is a wordless picture book which features a child’s indoor and outdoor activities through the four seasons. A die cut opening on each page offers a glimpse into a different scene, either hinting to an upcoming outside activity or referring back to one. What makes this book so appealing is the plethora of finely observed details rendered in gouache on craft paper. The black dog and child (of indeterminate gender and ethnicity) are the stars, but there are minor characters that are fun to spot: two white mice, a turtle, and a cat. There are materials featured on “inside” pages, such as homemade sailboats, seedlings, and striped fabric from a puppet stage that provide foreshadowing for future events. That the depictions focus on a child’s engagement with dramatic play and the natural world in the absence of adults adds allure.
This is a book children want to experience again and again. It’s an excellent one for fostering language on many different levels. For the youngest of kids, a parent can narrate each event in simple sentences, and a child can name the familiar objects. For a child with more developed language, stories can be told for each three-page spread of inside-outside-back inside. The same three-page spread can be told different ways or even from a different character’s point of view. Sharing Inside Outside with a little one fosters some of the same old-fashioned down-home fun that is celebrated in its glorious pictures.