Reviews /

Outside

Authored by Bee Chuck
Illustrated by Bee Chuck
Published by Little Tiger Press Group

Outside is a wonderfully life affirming story about how much we can appreciate our outside world after being inside during ‘lockdown’ and not able to explore or see friends.

Outside is written from the perspective of a child who was used to being outdoors with her family and pets. She acknowledges that she didn’t spend much time there as they were rushing to school or work. Everything seemed rather squashed and noisy. Then came a time when everyone had to stay indoors. At first this was fun but as time went on it became rather boring and repetitive and she began to long to be outside again. She describes appreciating the world from the window and trying to bring the outside in with window boxes and bird feeders. When the time comes to eventually leave the house the ‘outside’ is seen through new eyes. Everything outside is better that doing things alone inside. The weather and being dirty didn’t matter and it was good to look more closely at the natural world around and engage with other people roundabout.

This is a very clever concept for a picture book. The text and illustrations by Bee Chuck are evocative and charming. The front-end pages present an industrial style image of city life and the back pages show a more natural, freer approach to city life. This has come about because of our lack of freedom in ‘lockdown’. On each page the reader can experience the changes to life as they are portrayed through the story. It is an excellent book to share with children to initiate discussions about ‘lockdown’ experiences and how they were able to enjoy themselves in different ways. There are messages about appreciating our natural world and trying to live a more gentle, friendly life. The story can be read to young children but also enjoyed by older readers who can then discuss its messages and their own experiences. It is a book about rediscovering joy and gives a positive, reaffirming viewpoint to what was a difficult time for us.