Review of Out the Door

Out the Door
by Christy Hale; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g
10/20    978-0-8234-4644-5    $18.99

Hale’s got a clever premise here — a this-is-how-I-get-to-school picture book written entirely with prepositional phrases that combine a direction or position with a location. The title page kicks things off as a young girl, backpack on shoulders and lunchbox in hand, heads “out the door.” With a page-turn, “down the stoop” she goes, trailed by her briefcase-toting dad. It’s a fall day, and yellow leaves speckle the street and sidewalks in the textured collage illustrations. Deftly capturing the pace and rhythm of the pair’s morning commute, Hale shows the girl contentedly leading the way, swinging her bright yellow lunchbox in the air. Soon, her father catches up, so they can hold hands before they walk “across the street.” Signs for the F train and Carroll Street station clue readers in to the story’s Brooklyn setting. Seek-and-find opportunities pop up, especially in subway scenes, where readers can spot the twosome “below the ground” and “amid the crowd.” (The girl’s fire-engine-red jacket helps.) After the girl reaches her destination — a cheerful classroom of children with a variety of skin tones — the story fast-forwards to the end of the school day, and a series of mini-illustrations traces the return trip home. It’s a perfect back-to-school book, a warm-hearted chronicle of a daily routine, and an appealing introduction to directional and positional prepositions.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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