My Big Book of Outdoors by Tim Hopgood, published by Walker
This is every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect of you’ve either encountered Tim’s previous books or even just seen that cover.
First things first – this is an absolute feast for the eyes, with it’s rich, riotous and colours and expression; with the way it depicts flora and fauna with such accuracy and detail yet retains a real sense of freedom and vitality; with the lush layers and a depth which draws you in.
But this is much more than that too; split into seasons, this takes us through a year in nature and is packed with facts, poems, information, activities, categorisation, feelings… all of which inspire, inform and engage with precise text and vibrant, observant images.
Whether in picture books, non fiction, MG or indeed adult fiction, it’s always clear when there’s a real passion for nature behind the book and this is a case in point. Tim’s appreciation for the wonders of nature both big and small shine through this and are nothing if not infectious.
My favourite pages are those detailing different sorts of the same thing – pine cones, shells, leaves, feathers, berries… There is something so aesthetically pleasing, intellectually stimulating and linguistically lovely about them. I’d happily buy a book full of nothing but pages like these!
That said, I love the other pages too! The poems are evocative; the activities appealing (and, perhaps most importantly, easy to do); the facts pitched perfectly – minimal text but maximum relevance.
There’s enough to both teach you something and that be that or to hook you in and become the catalyst for further reading, investigating, exploring…
This is a book which engages all the senses, asking what you can hear, see, feel… there is so much to enjoy on the page and to take outside with you too. It is beautifully presented and finished, an absolute gift of a book for young nature-lovers (or nature newbies ready to nervously dip in their toes!)
Visually stunning, with a perfectly balanced blend of poetry, fact and feeling, this is an absolute joy to read and a book to return to repeatedly as the seasons come and go.