In the Woods: An Adventure for Your Senses by Mariona Tolosa Sisteré (OwlKids Books, September 2023) is the in action tale of a family going on a walk in the woods. With bright paintings to show the action, parent and child dialogue tell of the smells, sights, sounds, and textures that the children and grownups experience through their walk in the woods.
Different perspectives, such as a look at the birds through the two round eyes of binoculars and pages from the children’s sketchbooks, give a unique look to the story. The bright and somewhat abstract illustrations add to the feeling of a whimsical child’s perspective, and it emphasizes that perfection and accuracy is not necessary as we draw in our nature notebooks (which the children are encouraged to do throughout their day). I love the part where a child complains, “There are no animals to draw.” The next page shows a child’s view underneath a rock, where a variety of insects squirm.
Multiple pages of end matter remind children of where to look for natural things: above, around, and under our feet. Tips for finding sensory things in nature (hearing, smelling, touching, and possibly tasting) are accompanied with a safety warning to get permission before touching or tasting.
The semi-abstract art style won’t be for everyone, but In the Woods shines as a visual adventure in picture book form. With the plan-for-a-hike scenes, the active journey portrayed with different views, and the vibrant dialog among the children and grownups, it becomes a sensory journey into the many things one can experience during a hike into the woods. It reminds me of our many homeschool group field trips into nature preserves, complete with the emotions and boo-boos that come from a romp in nature. What a nice glimpse into the joy we can all find in nature!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance review copy of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.