Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature written by Rachel Williams, illustrated by Freya Hartas


Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature 

written by Rachel Williams

illustrated by Freya Hartas

Review Copy from Magic Cat Publishing / Abrams Kids

Enchanting, engaging, essential! Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature is one of the most beautiful and captivating books I have read in years. While the premise of this book encourages readers to go outside and notice the natural world (W. H. Davies's poem, "Leisure," at the start of the book begins, "What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare?") the act of reading it is also one of leisurely pleasure. The titles of each moment often read like lines of poetry as, "Dew Collects on a Leaf," a "Sea Star Shuffles Across the Ocean Floor," "Moss Drinks in a Woodland Rain Shower," and "Cherry Blossoms Fall to the Ground." Hartas's illustrations are delicate, the ideal mix of scientifically illustrative and occasionally playfully anthropomorphic, presented in a palette that is both rich and deep, while at the same time soft and gentle. Across a two page spread, Hartas's panel illustrations reveal the moment in nature. Williams follows her titles with a subtitle that sets up the moment, and a paragraph or two that provides just enough information for young readers to understand what they are about to experience, with captions under and sometimes in the panels, and the occasional fact box, that detail the experience.

What I especially love about Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature is the expanse of moments that give readers, no matter where they might live, the opportunity to read and understand the science behind a moment, then step outside - or put a head out a window - to experience it. You can watch a cloud form or the sun set, or you might be able to find a ladybug flying or a snail leaving a trail. Readers might even be able to discover a fox eating berries from a bush or bluebells transforming a woodland. Then, there are the moments that we may never see, from a mole topping up his store of earthworms to an oyster making a pearl. No matter what your opportunity to experience these moments in nature, Williams and Hartas imbue each one with all the magic and wonder they deserve, inspiring mindfulness on every page.

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