In his book, Whats Wild Outside Your Door? , author Peter Wohlleben explores the natural world that is present all around us. According to Wohlleben, you don’t have to travel to exotic places to experience nature because there is an abundance of fascinating plants and animals just outside the front door. The author blends scientific facts with stories and anecdotes to appeal to young readers and excite them to enjoy the natural world around them. A key feature of the book is the suggestions for projects and activities that engage young readers rather than have them passively absorb information.

Introductory material describes the equipment needed to explore, explains the need to be careful when handling plants and animals, and provides directions for collecting and preserving specimens. The following four chapters explore various aspects of the natural world from roof tops, sewers and sidewalk cracks, to wood piles, parks, and planets. Young readers learn how to grow slime mold, why lizards that live in the city have shorter toes, the way color gets into the world, and much more. Special attention is paid to the role of each organism in the landscape and the importance of providing and maintaining the delicate balance that exists in the ecosystem. Young readers are encouraged to become stewards of the environment and advocates for natural areas in their own communities.

An especially good feature of the book are the insets that appear every one or two pages. They may pose questions, suggest activities or add significant details about a subject mentioned in the text. Did you know, for example, that particles from car exhaust may stimulate tree growth and thereby bring about the early death of the tree?

Although written for children 8 to 12, Wohlleben’s book can be enjoyed by anyone who finds the natural world interesting. He packs so many facts into the pages that there is something to interest children and adults alike. Wholleben’s style is crisp and to the point but includes little tidbits that make it personal and friendly. Many photographs and other graphics are included but it is not a picture book and might be best enjoyed by younger children if the book is read to them.

To buy What’s Wild Outside Your Door? from, click here.

By Karen