with the subtitle “Explore, Draw, Color, and Discover the Great Outdoors”.
Okay, can I be real? While this is marketed as a children’s activity book, I am 100% keeping it for meeeeeee. I did, ofc, reluctantly offer it up to my children, but my youngest two are still enthralled by their excellent Gail Gibbons’ workbooks and my eldest is deeply suspicious of anything that looks remotely like schoolwork as summer vacation draws to a close, so I get to keep this wonderful, wondrous book all to myself!
And oh what a joy it is, especially in these pandemicesque times, to have a guided exercise in appreciating the nature around you. While this book skews ever so slightly towards temperate climes, it is very much usable by readers with access to any outdoor spaces with rocks and birds and leaves. It’s also a book that encourages different creative outlets, whether it be the coloring you’d expect from volumes like these, to poems, scrapbooking and paper arts.
In fact, that multi-disciplinary encouragement is one reason I appreciated having both the physical and electronic versions of this volume available to me. While nothing beats having the slightly oversized activity book printed on art paper in my hands, having the pdf also means I can print out extra pages as needed, particularly for the activities that require a little cutting out but still have other exercises printed on the back of the sheet. This way I don’t have to choose between which I’d rather do more, cut out a page to make a tree bark rubbing or draw a bird on the reverse side. Plus, I can now make multiple rubbings using the different techniques suggested by the author!
Nina Chakrabarti’s beautiful line illustrations — colored throughout in shades of black, grey and green — have an endearing quality that invites readers to draw along with her, unafraid of messing up “perfect” art with our own amateur efforts. Her text is wonderfully written as well, accessible for children and adults alike, without a single whiff of talking down to readers of any age. I expect to get many hours of thoughtful entertainment from these pages, and if my kids are lucky, I’ll even share some with them.
Hello Nature Activity Book by Nina Chakrabarti was published July 26 2022 by Laurence King Publishing and is available from all good booksellers, including