Drawing Outdoors

Greystone. May 2022. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771648479.
PreS-Gr 2–This engaging picture book presents a different take on the term “remote learning.” In an unnamed country, a tiny one-room schoolhouse stands “between two mountains, near a river, in the middle of nowhere.” Other than a blackboard and some chairs, its only real resource is a creative and intrepid teacher, who greets the children at the door and tells them that their lessons for the day will be outside. The young explorers, accompanied by a scruffy dog and three chickens, grab their paper and crayons and follow the woman down to the river. Their first sighting is a large brontosaurus that has stopped for a drink, and the kids get busy recording their observations in sketchbooks and on canvases. They next spot a triceratops and a stegosaurus (it’s the one with “rocks on its back”). The bright sunny day darkens when a bunch of pterodactyls fly overhead, and lastly, but hardly least, a tyrannosaurus rex roars into view. Some of the kids run back to school, while only the bravest stay and draw. The class wraps up their full and exhilarating day and looks forward to another day at el recreo. Buitrago’s simple, straightforward text is elevated and expanded by Yockteng’s gorgeous digital landscapes, full of textural and playful details. The giant creatures seem genuinely at home in this lush natural environment, as do the teacher and her class. This clever book is a subtle reminder that education and recreation need not be mutually exclusive exercises and that big ideas happen when you think outside the box.
VERDICT A must-have for STEAM classes and for dino lovers everywhere.

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