So many books. So little time.
Reading Lizi Boyd's wordless book Inside Outside is like stepping into an adventure of your own making. Turn the page—the warm brown walls of the inside of the house—soothing, like the familiar brown lunch bag. And, like the brown bag eagerly opened at lunch time to see what Mom has packed, that familiarity urges the reader to turn the page.
The room is filled with things, and naming them can be a game in itself. Take turns, till all the things are named; maybe write them down until everything, every single thing is listed.
The things are also clues, and reading the clues can be another game. What do you see on the double spread that opens the book. Hanging on the wall on the right-hand side are two pictures of snowmen. But wait a minute. On the left-side page are boots and jackets and scarves, and earmuffs with gloves. Does that mean it is a winter story? Turn the page to find out.
Aha! The snowmen pictures were not pictures at all but snowmen standing in the yard. The young child is now dressed in jacket and scarf and cap and boots and is out playing in the snow with his dog. The birds lend a helping hand! There is a twig that stretches across the front of the snowman, and a bird is perched on it. Turn the page.
Wait a minute!That snowman in the yard is really a picture on the wall, as is the bird just a picture, taped to the refrigerator. Or is it? Inside Outside. Things change with the view. The seasons change too. The spring rain melts away the snow. We see the young child starting the seeds indoors. There is a warming rack with plants on it. How creative.
Spring gives way to summer. Out comes the wading pool, the tree house, the picnic basket. Then fall arrives-swirling leaves, Halloween. The pleasure is in the details. Not only the child but also the dog and the cat and his turtle and the bird are dressed in capes, ready to go trick-or-treating. The last spread shows the child giving his dog a ride on the toboggan. The story come full circle—winter to winter and all the seasons in between.
Lizi Boyd achieves what all authors long to hear—"Lets read it again", for every reading reveals new things, new points of view. The book opens with the child inviting the reader in, ends with a picture of the snowy outdoors. Inside, outside.