Outside is waiting, our most patient playmate of all, most generous friend and most miraculous inventor.   We are reminded that we are all part of a much greater universe.  This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores our powerful and enduring connection with nature, not so easily obscured by our days spent indoors.


Outdoors is part of us all the time, even when we are indoors.


Deborah Underwood – Author
Cindy Derby – Illustrator

“Once we were part of Outside and Outside was part of us,” opens the text.  From the beginning to closing, nature is all-encompassing. We are reminded that nature is always calling us to come out and play, to appreciate and relish its marvels. The idea that the sun’s shadows, birds’ calls, and even intrusive bugs are all nature’s sneaky way of trying to grab our attention is unique.  Outside “sings to us with chirps and rustles and tap-taps on the roof”; it “beckons with smells: sunbaked, fresh, and mysterious”; we feel it “in the warm weight of our cats and the rough fur of our dogs.” The child is embraced by Outside both when inside and out.   Outside In is a beautiful story of how nature wishes to be a child’s favorite playmate.






I watched an interview with Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby discussing their new book OUTSIDE IN.  Deborah suggested that readers might enjoy writing a letter to their favorite Outside Place.  I agree.  Deborah created this framework for your letter.


Dear _______________________,

When I am there, I love seeing________________________.
I love hearing ____________________________________.
I love smelling ___________________________________.
When I am there, I feel _____________________________.
I can’t wait to see you again!
Your friend,


pdf for letter:
Letter to My Favorite Outside Place


Thank you, Deborah Underwood,  for your wonderful suggestion.



So, here is my letter to my favorite outside place.

Dear Bishop Peak,
When I am with you, I love seeing your Oak Woodlands in the dappled light.
I love hearing the Red-tailed Hawks’ thrilling raspy scream, as they soar overhead in wide circles.
I love smelling your delicious earthy scents.
When I am with you, I feel comforted by you.
I can’t wait to be with you again.

Your friend,