Dusk Explorers by Lindsay Leslie

Dusk Explorers

Lindsay Leslie, Author

Ellen Rooney, Illustrator

Page Street Kids, Fiction, Jun.2, 2020

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Dusk, Summer, Play, Games, Fireflies, Explore, Nature, Neighborhoods

Opening: “The sun begins to sink. The neighborhood beckons…”

Amazon Synopsis:

It’s that special time of evening, when the hours and the possibilities seem endless: Light is fading. A buzz of excitement and wonder takes over the neighborhood….What outdoor adventures await?

Join a diverse group of suburban kids as they dash and dodge in classic street games like tag and kick-the-can and reconnect with nature’s simple pleasures catching frogs, hunting fireflies, and climbing trees. These explorers play, laugh, and make the most of their own front yards right up until their parents call out that “It’s time to come home!” But when the sun begins to set tomorrow, they’ll be back for more evening excitement!

This ode to the timeless magic of summer evenings spent outside will remind kids of the fun and friends that wait just outside their doors and leave adults smiling with nostalgia for their own dusk explorations.

Why I like this book:

Lindsay Leslie’s Dusk Explorers is a beautiful tribute to magical summer evenings. It is the perfect summer gift book. It will bring back childhood memories for parents and encourage children to explore the outdoors at the special time of dusk. With the pandamic curtailing a lot of play, parents can encourage kids to explore their own yards, play games, catch fireflies, gaze at the stars, and listen to the sounds of nature as darkness comes. There is so much to do and explore.

The text is written in a free-flowing verse that is very lyrical. There is a lovely rhythm that speaks to the  senses and beckons children to come outdoors to play. Each spread begins with: looking, calling, searching, hoping, waiting, longing, watching, wishing, and listening. “Calling for leapfroggers who love to jump over backs and fall down on itchy blades of freshly cut grass …” and “Wishing for firefly catchers who love to fling their nets into the dimming sky sprinkled with diamonds.”

Ellen Rooney’s illustrations are lively, colorful and show an active group of diverse children having the time of their lives. Her artwork is simply breathtaking as we watch the sun lower in the sky, fireflies flicker in the dark and the stars shine brightly above.

Note: I reviewed this book today in honor of what would have been my father’s 99th birthday! I hold so many memories of my favorite time of day as a child — dusk! That meant I’d spend time playing catch or throwing a frisbee with my dad in the backyard. Sometimes we’d water the grass to nudge the worms to the surface and then we’d snatch them for fishing bait. Other times we’d climb the ladder to the roof and gaze at the stars. And the entire neighborhood would become alive with parents and kids enjoying the evening together. I’m sure many of you will find this book very nostalgic!

Resources: Encourage your children to go outside. This could be a fun activity for both kids and their parents as the day cools. I remember playing catch with my dad, throwing the frisbee, riding my bike with friends and mothers around the neighborhood circle, and watering the grass to snatch worms from the grass to go fishing with my dad. Be creative and have fun!

Lindsay Leslie  spent her childhood summers playing all the games found on these pages. Nowadays, she still loves the outdoors, but she love writing too. She is also the author of This Book Is Spinelesss and Nova the Star Eater. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family and two dogs.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

Snow Games – A uTales eBook

Snow Games

Joanna Marple, Author

Maja Sereda, Illustrator

uTales eBook, May 2012, Fiction

Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up

Themes:  Woodland Animals, Snow Games, Friendship, Teamwork

Opening/Synopsis“On a crisp, frosty mid-winter’s day, the woodland youngsters ran out to play.  The first game that popped into Squirrel’s head was to slide down the hill on a homemade sled.  Bear charged forth and crashed down the slope on a sled from boughs tied together with rope.”  The four endearing animals  –Squirrel, Bear, Owl and Mouse — spend a snowy winter day playing games in the woods.  They begin with sledding and each animal makes a sled from twigs, pine cones,  a log and a red shoe.  Bear suggests that they follow with a snow fight.  They each build a snow fort and pack snowballs of all sizes.  Once the game ends, Mouse, has the best game idea of all–to build snow animals.   Bear, Squirrel and Owl all craft  snow critters in their own likeness.  But, small Mouse has a vision and creates the biggest snow creature of all.   It is Fox, who will decide the winner of the winter snow games.

Why I like this story:  Written in verse, Joanna Marple has created an endearing and delightful story about friendship, sportsmanship, and teamwork among the woodland youngsters.  Joanna has traveled extensively and developed a passion for the animal world and their plight.  She loves to write  anthropomorphic stories with animals depicted in their natural environment.  Bear is strong, Owl is wise and confident,  Squirrel is quick and clever, and Mouse is small and compassionate.   Maja Sereda’s digital illustrations are playful and beautifully express this action-packed story.   She uses soft pastels to create the magical winter wonderland.  The rhyme and illustrations are the perfect ingredients for a fun winter experience.

About uTales:  Joanna says uTales is more than just a digital bookstore.  “It is built around a community in ways other platforms are not.  We want to be a family of creators. ”  The Friendship Alphabet book is a good example of how 30 authors and illustrators from 15 different countries created a storybook together.  Joanna contributed to this digital book as well.  Books are published in English and Swedish.  Click here to learn more about uTales children’s ebooks and to sign up for a free trial.  uTales was initiated by Swedish businessman, Nils von Heijne.  Emma Dryden, of drydenbks, oversees the Editorial Quality uTales Panel.

Joanna Marple grew up surrounded by the architecture and awe of the city of Cambridge, UK, and immersed in the books and the landscapes of the Brontes, Tolkien and Beatrix Potter. Her tall tales were not always appreciated as a young child, but her passion for storytelling remained unfettered and was fuelled by the marvelous people and animals she encountered during her humanitarian work across the continents. More recently her years as school librarian in Southern France relit her passion for children’s books. Her stories focus on her love of the natural world and the richness of the cultures she has encountered in her travels. She lives presently in Nice with two quirky cats and a stream of visitors from all over the globe.