Today we are reviewing “Amelie and the GREAT OUTDOORS” a picture book written by Fiona Barker with illustrations by Rosie Brooks and published by Matador earlier this year (2016). We have recently included this book in our 366 books in 366 days reading challenge. You can read more about our challenge here.
The story is a real celebration of all the fun you can have when you simply step outside. The main character is a little girl called Amelie. We are told that she lived at the top of a tall, tall tower and always stayed indoors. With no computer games, no toys and no telly, what could the great outdoors really offer her?
Barlow is a little bird who loves the Great Outdoors. Barlow starts to visit Amelie in her tower and tells her about all the exciting things they could do outside together. He includes everything from jumping in puddles in the Spring and making sandcastles in the Summer, to picking blackberries in the Autumn and building snowmen in the Winter but Amelie is just not interested.
When Barlow gives up visiting Amelie, she grows concerned and eventually decides to go outside to try and find him. Not only does Amelie find Barlow, she makes some more friends and discovers just how much fun you can have when you step into the great outdoors.
This is an enjoyable and gentle story, which highlights the benefits of fresh air and exercise for children. I particularly like how the story incorporates different seasonal activities and illustrates that you can have fun outdoors all year round and whatever the weather. The story really appealed to the Mini Reviewers and they were especially delighted at the idea of a bird visiting and speaking to Amelie. I think they are hopeful one may come to have a chat with them! Theo also loved the part about jumping in puddles and scooting, as these are two of his favourite outdoor activities.
The soft yet colourful illustrations from Rosie Brooks are full of character and charm. They are in keeping with the gentle nature of the story and perfectly capture the essence of each season. Our favourite picture is of the sticky blackberry pickers who have clearly been sampling a few of the berries!
This is not only a book that would encourage even the most reluctant child to step outside, it can also be enjoyed by those who already appreciate just how great it is outdoors.
Disclaimer: Fiona Barker the author of this book very kindly sent us a copy to include in our 366 books in 366 days reading challenge. All opinions are, as always, my own.