Nature Picture Books:: Lizi Boyd

Over the last two and a half years I’ve read a staggering number of picture books to my daughter, a large percentage of them nature themed. In this new column feature I’m going to highlight some of our favorite authors, series and individual books.

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One of my favorite books to look at has no words at all, it’s called Inside Outside (affiliate link) by artist and author Lizi Boyd. The book alternates from scenes indoors to scenes outdoors, following a boy, his dog, cat and turtle. Each page has cutouts integrated into the scene which reveal the next page very cleverly bringing the outside, inside and back again.

Nature abounds in all the scenes and even on the inside pages you’ll see paintings of birds and drawings of plants on the walls. Outside the world changes with the seasons and the boy goes from planting a garden to playing in the rain to building a snowman. It’s a wonderful book that illustrates how connected we are to nature even when we’re inside our houses. The art of full of color and details and I, as an adult, have spent much time looking at the images and admiring the world Boyd has created.

My daughter has also delighted in this book, first enamored with the cutouts when she was younger, and now as a toddler she enjoys all the images of animals and identifying them.

Lizi Boyd discusses the wonder of Inside Outside, her creative process and how children have discovered her book in an interview at The Horn Book.

More recently, Boyd has released a brand new book featuring the same little boy and nature theme, titled Flashlight (affiliate link). Like Inside Outside, it features cutouts revealing clues on other pages but this one also reveals what’s outside in the dark. The beautiful illustrations are done in gray on black paper, but where the flashlight shines is an explosion of color.The boy takes us on an adventure in the dark world and where he shines his flashlight, surprises in the dark are revealed; an owl, a beaver or a moth.

The scenes are alive with a variety of wildlife including bats, small mammals and other nocturnal creatures. It’s a fun nature adventure, following along as he discovers animals peeking out from behind trees. The book also shows the reader that things in the dark aren’t scary, instead they’re wonders to discover.

Kelly Brenner
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