Dusk Explorers – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

As school winds down during spring’s last gasp, children everywhere are looking forward to the long, lazy days of summer. But not just the days, the crepuscular hour that signals day’s end. For many, it’s the time to get outside after the heat of the day (sorry, San Francisco kids, summer is really winter, here) and play tag, catch fireflies, or explore the neighborhood with news eyes in the semi-darkness.

Yes, folks, I’m talking dusk. And this particularly engaging new book:

Text ©️Lindsay Leslie Illustration ©️Ellen Rooney

The sun begins to sink.

The neighborhood beckons….

I love how the neighborhood is personified, as if it’s waiting for its friends to come out and play. The text for most of the spreads that follow begins with present participles: looking, calling, searching, hoping, waiting, longing, watching, wishing, and listening. This choice indicating that some version of these activities happens every night.

It’s time to find friends; climb trees; play leapfrog, tag, or kick the can; discover frogs and worms; and catch fireflies. So many things to do before being called inside.

I absolutely adore this spread, showing children catching fireflies. I apologize for my poor photo quality. Some illustrators make the tricky job of depicting evening scenes look easy. Throughout this book, Ellen Rooney’s fabulous illustrations take us on the journey from the light-filled, long-shadowed moment of sundown to full darkness masterfully.

Text ©️Lindsay Leslie Illustration ©️Ellen Rooney

Lindsay Leslie’s accompanying text is just as lovely:

Wishing for firefly catchers

who love to fling their nets into the

dimming sky sprinkled with diamonds

The last spread finds the neighborhood calling out to its friends:

Text ©️Lindsay Leslie Illustration ©️Ellen Rooney


Run free outdoors.

Steal away into the night.

I find this lure to the great outdoors especially poignant, given that it’s currently the safest place for children to play with their friends (as long as they stay six feet apart!). 


Catch and release fireflies, or make a firefly craft.

Identify the animals/insects that are crepuscular in this book. Cut up old magazines that contain their images and make a crepuscular animal collage. See if you can spot the crepuscular animals living in your neighborhood. Yes, I’ve used crepuscular four times now. Guaranteed that kids will love learning this word!

Write a poem, using the structure shown below and then read your poem after removing all but the last prompt:

At dusk,

I see _____

I hear _____

I smell ____

I feel _____

I wish _____

Title: Dusk Explorers

Author: Lindsay Leslie

Illustrator: Ellen Rooney

Publisher: Page Street Kids, 2020

Ages: K-5th

Themes: dusk, exploring, outside activities

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.



12 thoughts on “Dusk Explorers – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    What a beautiful book. Dusk is one of my favorite times of the day and when I like to walk and listen to the sounds, or sit of the porch. It also brings back fond memories of catching lightning bugs, playing catch with my dad, spraying the grass with water at night so we could snatch earthworms for fishing. Wished I’d thought to write a book like this. Look forward to reading this gem!

  2. MErb says:

    “Crepuscular” is such a great word! Love that word!

    Books like these make me wish we had fireflies in CA – I remember the first time I saw real fireflies – I was a 30 year old woman visiting friends in Cleveland OH and it was simply magical. (And they got a kick out of watching an adult go nuts for fireflies! :D)

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