After spending the weekend watching my children and their friends having the most amazing time outdoors clambering up sand dunes and exploring forests filled with wild garlic, I wished there was more that I could do to encourage them to spend more time outside. In a world filled with so many factors competing for your child’s attention inside, this is always a challenge. Fiona Barker has written a lovely book called ‘Amelie and the Great Outdoors’ beautifully illustrated by Rosie Brooks which celebrates the joys of spending time outside.
Amelie the little girl in the story has never been outside her flat preferring to stay inside because the ‘great outdoors had no computer games, no toys and….worst of all….no telly!’ Despite her parent’s best intentions nothing they can do can convince her to leave the house until one day she stumbles across a little bird called Barlow who flies on to her windowsill. Barlow visits her through each of the seasons enticing her with offers of all the fun and excitement that is waiting for her if only she would leave the house. But his suggestions of jumping over puddles, building sandcastles, leaf kicking or sledging fail to tempt Amelie and one day Barlow no longer returns. Worried about her new friend she has to decide if she can venture up the courage to go outside and find him. When Amelie eventually overcomes her fear she soon realises that she has been missing out on all of these wonderful activities.
This story is a gentle tale which would be perfect for sharing with younger children who are feeling anxious about change or trying new experiences. Fiona wrote this to help her daughter who hated touching grass to begin enjoying playing outside. It provides the opportunity for parents and teachers to talk to their children about how easy it is to become involved in gadgets inside so that they forget about the interesting, exciting world awaiting them. Rosie Brook’s enchanting illustrations take us on a journey through the seasons capturing all the fun and excitement of the children playing and having fun. They are delightful and perfectly complement Fiona’s engaging and thoughtful writing.
Thank you to Fiona Barker for sending me a copy of this book to review, now I’m heading outside to enjoy reading a book in the sun.