Mould breaking non-fiction: Nature’s Day

posted in: Danielle Kroll, Kay Maguire | 10

Natures_Day_CVR-360x359Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and it’s putting a big smile on my face! The afternoons and weekends where we just want to be outside have begun, and we’ve a sumptuous book to inspire us to look with new season’s eyes at the growth and activity all around us in the garden, parks and streets nearby; Nature’s Day written by Kay Maguire, illustrated by Danielle Kroll.

This chocolate-box of a book takes 8 different outdoor locations and follows them from Spring through to Winter (in the Northern hemisphere), watching changes in nature as plants and wildlife go through their seasonal cycles. Like a spotter’s guide, pages are packed with incredibly pretty illustrations, with short text dotted all around introducing readers to different sights and sounds relating to the highlighted flora and fauna.

As the very first sentence of this charming book reminds us, nature is indeed everywhere – not just in remote countryside; the locations chosen tend to be those created by humans, such as the vegetable patch, the farm, the orchard and the street. These are settings which many children may have access to nearby (as opposed to looking at nature in wild landscapes relatively untouched by human activity), making this book accessible and meaningful to families even in urban settings.

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You can enjoy the book chronologically, comparing each location at the same time of year or you can dip in and out, enjoying each section as a stand-alone. The stylized handwriting font used in places may make it a little more of a challenge to new readers to enjoy on their own, but it adds to the “hand made” feeling this book has, from its cloth cover to its design reminiscent of a flower press, full of individually chosen treasures.

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One of a new breed of children’s non-fiction books which are not only informative but also utterly gorgeous to look at, making them appeal to readers who might otherwise claim to be less interested in “fact books”, Nature’s Day breaks the mould and seduces its readers.

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Inspired by the book’s design and focus on the changing seasons I designed a card for my girls to make, using pressed flowers and a rotating wheel.

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Using the template above (you can download the two pieces here and here, ready to print onto A4), I cut out a window and side slot in a piece of folded A4 card. For each card I also cut out one wheel. The kids then glued pressed flowers onto the outside of the card (a collage with pictures of flowers/plants cut from magazines or catalogues would also work well).

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Whilst the glue dried, the girls drew a picture for each season on the quarters of the wheel, and when that was completed, I used a split pin (paper fastener) to attach the wheel to the inside of the card, so that it could rotate round the whole year.

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I don’t often make product specific recommendations, but my girls are using these pencils which they’ve recently discovered and really, really love. They have coloured rubbers and a place to write your name on each pencil, as well as being really bright colours which easily leave good strong marks.

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I don’t know about you, but I think this card design could make a great mother’s/father’s day card – perhaps with some inscription like “I love you all year round” inside 🙂

Whilst making our cards we listened to:

  • Springtime: It’s My Favorite by Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
  • Summer Song by Joe McDermott
  • Falling by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights
  • Another Good Year by Lori Henriques

  • Other activities which would go well with reading Nature’s Day include:

  • Collecting twigs to use in a “trees through the season” painting activity, as inspired by this idea from KCEdventures.
  • Using pinecones and wool to create your own wood through the seasons, using this idea from Project Kid.
  • Going on a nature treasure hunt, with sticky sandwich boards to collect your finds on, just as we did here.

  • What are you going to do today to get out into nature? 🙂 Which books will you be taking with you as you go outside and explore?

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher

    10 Responses

    1. Those card came out beautifully – what a good idea. I’d be very happy to receive one of these on Mother’s Day! 😉
      Claire Potter recently posted..Thinking inside the box: Make a cardboard zoo

      • Thanks Claire, yes, they did turn out well. If you give the template a go, let me know how you get on.

    2. Ugh, not available in the U.S. yet, not at our library or on amazon.
      Even in Australia recently posted..Let’s Mock Testing

    3. I look forward to reading this book once it is published in the US. There is such a charming feel with the lovely flora and fauna. Looks like the girls created beautiful handmade cards. Thank you. ~Suzy
      Suzy Leopold recently posted..Let’s Get Ready to Rhyme! ~ by Patricia Toht

    4. SIMONE FRASER

      It’s Autumn time here in Sydney, which is also my favourite. i am still smiling broadly from the affect of this beautiful post. (I’m a new fan of Billy Kelly and the Blah-Blah-Blahs). The girls’ pictures are worth framing! Love it all, and thankyou!

    5. This book has such a beautiful cover that just invites you to open it and the illustrations are beautiful.

      I absolutely love your cards too, it’s such a great idea that can be adapted for children of all ages.
      Catherine recently posted..Rabbits Don’t Lay Eggs! by Paula Metcalf & Cally Johnson-Isaacs

    6. Oh this book looks so cute! I love what you said about it being informative and beautiful! That’s my kind of book… adding it to my list now!
      Cami recently posted..Library List 2: 10 more books for your next checkout

    7. This book look so delightful… the illustrations just look so inviting, I know I would like to step outdoors and explore the world around us after looking at this book!!!
      se7en recently posted..Folktales from Africa… A GiveAway…

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