Getting kids to turn off the screens and get outside to explore nature can feel like a never-ending challenge—but a book by a group of Canadian authors and artists aims to inspire kids to do just that.
Under Your Nose: A book about nature’s gifts follows the adventures of two kids—Zachary and Chloe—as they visit their grandparents’ cottage during the summer. When a power outage prevents the two kids from charging their tablets, Gramps sends them on a scavenger hunt in the woods. After a day of learning about things like “deer berries” (that’s poop, by the way), wandering on their own and even getting grubby as they build a dam out of mud and branches, Zachary and Chloe are hooked on making their own fun outdoors. It’s a tale that couldn’t be more timely given a recent ParticipACTION report calling for kids to spend more time experiencing play in nature.
Featuring the art of famed wildlife painter Robert Bateman, as well as Loretta Rogers (who is company director of Rogers Communications, which owns Today’s Parent), D.A. Dunford and several others, the book is the third that’s been developed by Children’s Books for Charity, an organization founded by Rogers, Judith McMurray and the Tobin Island Artists.
Told from the perspective of Zachary, Under Your Nose encourages kids to explore nature—a theme that’s close to Rogers’s heart.”I’ve always liked nature,” she says. “I think most parents would like to see their children spend less time on the devices and have them outdoors and doing the things their parents did when they were young.”
As with all children’s books, the art has a way of bringing the story to life—and some of it was even inspired by real-life moments. Rogers’s painting of the squirrel that throws a pinecone on Zachary, for example, is based on a crafty little critter who had a particular fondness for the crab apple tree at her cottage. “He was eating all the apples, so we tried to move him,” she explains. “He’d turn around and look at you and eat the next apple…he was a handful!”
Rogers says she’s particularly fond of this latest book because it teaches: “The idea is to let children open their eyes and see the lovely stuff that’s around,” she says, adding that “if we don’t take care of it, it won’t be there for their kids.” And while Canada is home to some pristine natural areas, she points out that you don’t have to leave the city to experience nature. “There is a lot of wildlife in the city,” she says. “It’s there if people will look.”
Under Your Nose (Firefly Books) by Judith and Shandley McMurray is available at theshoppingchannel.com.