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Eli’s Books

Eli’s Spring Day, Eli Meets His Shadow and Eli’s Winter Day books are between 21-24 pages each for children from 1-?. Story by Jeanette Gray and pictures by Elizabeth Gray Earl

A lot has been written lately about the decline of picture books in bookstores and in libraries. It is refreshing to get a new series of picture books that is tellingl a visual story from a kid’s perspective. Eli’s books capture the magic and wonder of childhood and outdoor play where most of Eli’s adventures are set outside.

“I want to go outside!”

The text is simple and descriptive language following the images in the books. Sentence structure is simple and sounds like what a child would say, but adding poetic and expressive words. The language does not try to teach anything, we see it through kid’s eyes. It is red berries and white flowers, and not with their proper names.

The pictures are shot using natural light without any frills and staging giving them an organic feeling. The images are made with a variety of wide angles and close-ups showing nature in both macro and micro view. The photo essays utilize a thoughtful approach both in capture and layout as we follow the characters journey. The realistic images capture the feeling of Eli’s everyday life.

Eli is our main character. Eli, a toddler (2 1/2?) boy, is our main character. He lives with his parent in a log cabin. In the stories we meet his mom, dad and some teenager friends. Eli loves to be outside and he has parents who take him outside.

The only thing I’m missing in the books is other children. We only meet other adults or Eli is alone giving an almost melancholy feel to the story. Maybe Eli will start or join an outdoor playgroup so he can play with other kids.

This series of books capture the wonderful place of childhood and play. Where parents can reminisce about their childhood and children can relate with adults in a universal love of nature. In a time when a lot of children’s literature and television is often cartoons or very staged and slick, it is great to have something real and honorable to share with small children. Each of the books has simple solutions for what you can do outside. Inside you will find recipes for making bubbles, hot chocolate and how to make a kite.

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