Dusk Explorers by Lindsay Leslie

Dusk Explorers

Lindsay Leslie, Author

Ellen Rooney, Illustrator

Page Street Kids, Fiction, Jun.2, 2020

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Dusk, Summer, Play, Games, Fireflies, Explore, Nature, Neighborhoods

Opening: “The sun begins to sink. The neighborhood beckons…”

Amazon Synopsis:

It’s that special time of evening, when the hours and the possibilities seem endless: Light is fading. A buzz of excitement and wonder takes over the neighborhood….What outdoor adventures await?

Join a diverse group of suburban kids as they dash and dodge in classic street games like tag and kick-the-can and reconnect with nature’s simple pleasures catching frogs, hunting fireflies, and climbing trees. These explorers play, laugh, and make the most of their own front yards right up until their parents call out that “It’s time to come home!” But when the sun begins to set tomorrow, they’ll be back for more evening excitement!

This ode to the timeless magic of summer evenings spent outside will remind kids of the fun and friends that wait just outside their doors and leave adults smiling with nostalgia for their own dusk explorations.

Why I like this book:

Lindsay Leslie’s Dusk Explorers is a beautiful tribute to magical summer evenings. It is the perfect summer gift book. It will bring back childhood memories for parents and encourage children to explore the outdoors at the special time of dusk. With the pandamic curtailing a lot of play, parents can encourage kids to explore their own yards, play games, catch fireflies, gaze at the stars, and listen to the sounds of nature as darkness comes. There is so much to do and explore.

The text is written in a free-flowing verse that is very lyrical. There is a lovely rhythm that speaks to the  senses and beckons children to come outdoors to play. Each spread begins with: looking, calling, searching, hoping, waiting, longing, watching, wishing, and listening. “Calling for leapfroggers who love to jump over backs and fall down on itchy blades of freshly cut grass …” and “Wishing for firefly catchers who love to fling their nets into the dimming sky sprinkled with diamonds.”

Ellen Rooney’s illustrations are lively, colorful and show an active group of diverse children having the time of their lives. Her artwork is simply breathtaking as we watch the sun lower in the sky, fireflies flicker in the dark and the stars shine brightly above.

Note: I reviewed this book today in honor of what would have been my father’s 99th birthday! I hold so many memories of my favorite time of day as a child — dusk! That meant I’d spend time playing catch or throwing a frisbee with my dad in the backyard. Sometimes we’d water the grass to nudge the worms to the surface and then we’d snatch them for fishing bait. Other times we’d climb the ladder to the roof and gaze at the stars. And the entire neighborhood would become alive with parents and kids enjoying the evening together. I’m sure many of you will find this book very nostalgic!

Resources: Encourage your children to go outside. This could be a fun activity for both kids and their parents as the day cools. I remember playing catch with my dad, throwing the frisbee, riding my bike with friends and mothers around the neighborhood circle, and watering the grass to snatch worms from the grass to go fishing with my dad. Be creative and have fun!

Lindsay Leslie  spent her childhood summers playing all the games found on these pages. Nowadays, she still loves the outdoors, but she love writing too. She is also the author of This Book Is Spinelesss and Nova the Star Eater. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family and two dogs.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

26 thoughts on “Dusk Explorers by Lindsay Leslie

  1. What a lovely review and the book is timely. Kids are restricted to home and yard, and while they can’t get together with the neighborhood gang, this book does what books do best: for a short time it makes them FEEL as if they had.  Cathleen 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


    • Oh my goodness, I have been thinking about you lately. We haven’t connected in a long time and I’ve wondered what you are up to. Any new books?

      Glad you enjoyed my share today. It really is a perfect summer book where kids can explore their own backyards at dusk and have fun! Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Dusk is my favorite time of day. I have fond memories of after-dinner, before bedtime, romps through the neighborhood. A cemetary at the end of the street was a particularly fun place to scamper about as the shadows lengthened.
    Thinking of you as you remember your father. My mother would have turned 99 next month & my father, 104. Like you, if I was with a parent outside in the evening, it would have been my father, generally in the garden. He was my gardening inspiration.


    • Dusk is still my favorite time. Now I enjoy being on my second floor balcony taking the last days of summer in. We grew up in a similar time period, when we were free to run and be kids. When all the parents in the neighborhood were our parents. We played hard and had a lot of fun! Thanks for you kind words.


  3. I can’t count all the warm summer nights when I dashed outdoors with my sister after dinner to jump around the yard, trying to collect lighting bugs in our cupped hands. The air was always filled with the buzz of a billion cicadas. It was a magical time. I enjoyed your review of this amazing book.


    • Dusk was a magical time for us growing up — and it should be for our grandkids and great grandkids. This is a book parents will enjoy exploring with their kids. With COVID distancing, perhaps they will make fun memories together.


  4. What a lovely tribute to your dad, P. So sweet. Mom and I don’t even like dusk (or dark), but you and this book make it sound very magical. When she takes me for a walk at dusk, she says the word, “GAH! Hurry up. bugs are eating me alive.” She has no sense of wonder.

    Love and licks,


  5. Memories of your dad were special. I think I’d enjoy this book as much as the intended audience. Thanks for sharing. Brought back some of my own memories of going from one house to the next racing through backyards, then playing catch in the street.


  6. This sounds like a wonderful way to remind kids of the fun of playing outdoors! I love that you timed your post to coincide with what would have been your father’s birthday. Thanks for the great review!


    • Yes, it seemed like a wonderful way to acknowlge my dad and all the fun times we had playing at dusk. So many memories, as I’m sure you must have too. This is such a perfect summer book to encourage kids to get outside and explore their yards at dusk.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this book! From the illustrations, to the text, to the memories it stirs up for me–those universal kids playing outside at the beginning of evening. Everything about it is gorgeous.


  8. I love the tribute to your father! Thank you for featuring DUSK EXPLORERS. It really is a tribute to those who grew up being dusk explorers and a call-to-action to the kiddos of today to get outside and become dusk explorers themselves.


    • Thank you for visiting and leaving a lovely comment. It really stirred up wonderful childhood memories with my dad. And yes, I hope it is a call-to-action for kids today to become dusk explorers. You really have a winning/appealing story with gorgeous illustrations. I hope you sell a lot of books!


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