Outside In by Daniel Thompson

Outside In by Daniel Thompson – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Poetry, nature, lyrical, relevant, moving. .
Children’s book title: Outside In – Nature Poems.
Children’s author: Daniel Thompson.
Children’s illustrator: Julia Murray.
Genre: Poetry collection.
Published by: Collins
ISBN: 9780008660253.
Recommended for children aged: 7+.
First published: Hardback April 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: Poetry and nature lovers of all ages.

Outside In by Daniel Thompson

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Our review:

Outside In is a collection of 50 nature poems by storyteller and musician Daniel Thompson, author of Being You: Poems of Positivity, which was selected for the Reading Agency’s 2023 Summer reading challenge.

In this latest collection, the poet shares his enjoyment of the natural world in the hope that it will “spark a love of nature, bring calm and happiness and let the outside in.”

Squish squash squelch,
My socks are full of mud.
I’m in muddle in a puddle
In the middle of the woods.
Mum said to wear my wellies
And I told her that I would,
But I never ever listen,
Even though I know I should.
And now in all directions,
From the spot in which I’m stood
Is this tricky, thick, and sticky,
Icky, stinky, smelly mud.
And I am in the middle,
in a middle … Not good!
Squish squash squelch,
My socks are full of mud.

Outside In contains a number of traditional nature-themed poems including those about the weather (My Neighbour, The Thunderstorm), seasons (The Great British Year) and the joy of natural discoveries (Beneath a Tree). These are presented alongside those on more modern topics such as endangered species (A World Without Bees), the value of switching off (No Batteries Required) and the role of nature in mental well-being (Natural Remedies).

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The book’s variety gives this collection great relevance and significance to today’s eco-conscious young readers. There is also an important, yet subtly presented educational message running throughout the book, on the value of nature and the benefits that it can bring to both us and the world at large.

Fill the skies,
Exploding into light,
Igniting scenes
In gold and greens,
Across the darkened night.

Fill the skies,
And shine so bright ta first,
You’d swear the far
And distant stars,
Had fallen down to Earth.

Fill the skies,
Exploding into light,
So glad and I
To have these eyes,
To witness such a sight.

Outside In is beautifully presented, with full-colour illustrations on each page by Julia Murray. There is great diversity in the children pictured, enhancing the message that the natural world is for everyone, and can and should be appreciated by us all.

Outside In by Daniel Thompson spread 2

All of the poems have some form of rhyme scheme, although this is never so restrictive as to lose the free-flowing rhythm of the piece. Two Sides of Nature is particularly clever, giving an entirely different meaning when read from bottom to top.

Outside In is a beautiful, accessible poetry collection that will appeal to fans of Michael Rosen and Joseph Coelho.

Many thanks to Collins for the review copy.

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If you like Outside In by Daniel Thompson you might also like: our reviews of The Star Whale by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horáček, Forwards Always by Matthew Hodson, A Passing On Of Shells by Simon Lamb and The Way of Dog by Zana Fraillon, illustrated by Sean Buckingham.

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About Melanie Dillon

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Melanie has a Master’s degree in Information and Library Management; a Post Graduate Certificate in Children’s Literature focusing on the Reading Agency’s Reading Well scheme & LGBT YA fiction, and extensive experience working in school and public libraries. Linkedin | Reviews by Melanie Dillon