The wonders of nature come alive in “Step Gently Out,” a glorious new picture book by Helen Frost, with photographs by Rick Lieder.
Parent educators with the Washington School District have chosen the book as their April Baby Buzz Pick. Each month the group selects a quality book for children birth to age 5. A Baby Buzz review is featured in the second weekend issue of The Missourian.
Through a WINGS grant, the group purchases copies of each month’s Baby Buzz Pick to use in their visits with parents. They also recommend additional books monthly. An ongoing list of Baby Buzz Picks is available on The Missourian’s web site, emissourian.com.
The following Baby Buzz review was written by Nancy Nagel, area literacy advocate.
“Children of all ages are invited to slow down, open their eyes and experience the wonder and beauty of the world around them. The simple text, a poem by author Helen Frost, encourages readers to ‘be still and watch a single blade of grass.’ Frost also plays with words to describe the scenes. ‘A spider spins a silken thread . . . Balanced lightly on a leaf, bathed in golden light.’
“Stunning nature photographs fill each page. The featured creatures are in sharp focus against a blended background of light and color. The insects are presented in lifelike appearance, eyeball to eyeball with the reader.
“Young children will enjoy pointing to or naming the large areas of color covering each page. The photographs present many blues and greens with bright spots of brown, pink and yellow. As children get older, they will enjoy naming the insects and counting the legs or antennae on them.
“The last two pages of the book feature child-friendly information about each of the insects depicted in the book.
“Enjoying the outdoor world together is a wonderful way to build a relationship with your young child. The colors, sounds and actions of the plants and animals all provide starting points for many conversations.
“Take pictures during your walk, glue them to sturdy paper, then ask your child to tell a story about the picture. Write down what she says. Date and keep your nature journal for future reference to note your child’s language development. Or just lie down in the grass and watch for all those creatures because ‘in song and dance and stillness, they share the world with you.’ ”
Other parent educator favorites this month are “I Went Walking” by Sue Williams, “The Listening Walk” by Paul Flowers, “Flower Garden” by Eve Bunting, “In the Small, Small Pond” by Denise Fleming, and “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehler.