Finding Wild

illus. by Abigail Halpin. 32p. Knopf. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101932810.
K-Gr 2—Inspiring children to claim the "wild" where they can find it, this notable debut is a paean to the beauty, fun, and relevance of the natural world. Emerging from the subway, two children travel through fields, forests, mountains, and meadows, exploring the many pleasures to be found outdoors. Evocative language encourages the use of all five senses when journeying through the landscape. "Wild is full of smells—fresh mint, ancient cave, sun-baked desert, sharp pine, salt sea. Every scent begging you to drink it in." City dwellers are emboldened to seek out and investigate nature hiding amid the buildings and streets, as the children return home and discover an urban oasis. Multitextured digitally finished watercolor and pencil illustrations portray the varieties of nature, from a tiny sprout and shiny spiderweb to a lakeside trail and a pack of baying wolves. Colorful spreads provide space to feel the grandeur of the environment.
VERDICT In an age when children spend less and less time outside, this ode to the wonder of the natural world is a step in the right direction. Perfect for a city-critters or nature unit.

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