Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book three hundred and sixty-one

Many children spend most of their lives disconnected from nature. They live in concrete jungles where there are very few trees to climb, or patches of grass to roll in. I am convinced that it is very important for children to be able to spend time in a natural setting where there is earth to dig in and insects to watch. Being able to connect with nature lifts children's spirits and helps them to feel grounded.

Today's picture book looks at the adventures that one little girl has as she explores a meadow. These are not big and grand adventures. Instead, they are little adventures that are nevertheless very precious.


In the Meadow In the meadow
Yukiko Kato
Illustrated by Kamako Sakai
Translated by Yuki Kaneko
Picture book
For ages 4 to 6
Enchanted Lion, 2011, 978-1-59270-108-7
   Yu-chan and her parents are playing on the beach by the river. The little girl’s father invites her to join him and Yu-chan’s brother as they paddle in the water, but Yu-chan is distracted by a butterfly that is sitting on a stone nearby. Charmed by the butterfly’s “beautiful orange wings with teeny black dots,” Yu-chan follows the butterfly when is flies into a meadow.
   Yu-chan follows the butterfly, pushing through fragrant plants and through grass that tickles her legs. Surrounded by the tall grass, Yu-chan feels as if she is in the middle of a  “green sea.” Even when she can no longer see the butterfly, Yu-chan finds other things to marvel at, until she realizes that she does not know where she is.
   This is the first title in a new Being in the World series, a collection of books from Japan that explore the ways in which children interact with nature. The narrative is simple and magical, and children and grownups alike will be charmed by Yu-chan’s little adventure. 

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