Gal, Susan. 2011. INTO THE OUTDOORS. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0375869587 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
This simple picture book works on several levels. A family is taking a camping trip and hikes through the woods having an adventure together. At the same time, the animals of the forest are having their own parallel adventure. Add to all that, the cleverest use of prepositions to help tell the story as the family travels UP a mountain, OVER a bridge, and UNDER a canopy of trees.
Susan Gal is also the illustrator for this charming story and captures both the beauty of the natural world and the playful family time in lush scenes with engaging characters. Young readers will enjoy identifying the parallel (and intersecting) storylines and predicting what will happen next with each page turn.
What a fun book to read and pore over multiple times as children join in on the rhythmic phrases that tell the story. They can act out the action verbs and prepositions (over, under, alongside)—a particularly useful exercise for those who are learning English as a new language. A fun follow up activity could focus on collaborating on a group book about a family’s walk through a city scene using prepositional phrases to describe the action.
Other picture books by Susan Gal:
NIGHT LIGHTS. ISBN 0375858628
PLEASE TAKE ME FOR A WALK. ISBN 978-0375858635
DAY BY DAY. ISBN 978-0375869594
By Sylvia M. Vardell