This week’s Short Read of the Week is Sam Usher’s Storm, published by Templar Books.
With the obvious arrival of Autumn last week, heralded by Storm Callum, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate time to introduce the children to Sam Usher’s new story – the latest in a series of picture books linking the weather to the adventures of a young boy and his grandfather.
What it’s about
The young protagonist wakes up one morning to the wind rattling his windows, and can’t wait to talk to his grandfather about what they should do. They both agree that it is kite-flying weather, and the two set off to first find their kite. As they search for it in the house, they discover all sorts of other objects that bring back wonderful memories of past adventures, before they embark on their latest.
Previous titles in the series include Rain, Sun and Snow, and the children all knew why I had chosen the book for this week – they talked excitedly about the recent rain and strong winds and how the leaves were falling from the trees. One of the most popular activities at playtime recently has been gathering mounds of multi-coloured leaves and pretending they are mountains to dominate and explore. The children loved the evocative language used in the book when describing the wind – ‘blustered and blew’, ‘huffed and ‘howled’ and ‘whistled and whooshed’. Not only do these words sound perfect for the noise the wind makes, but their onomatopeic nature inspired the children to have a go at making the sounds themselves. The illustrations complement the words perfectly, with the windy scenes in particular creating a sense not just of movement but whirling, natural chaos.
My young audience was particularly captivated by the kite-flying scenes, calling out all the shapes and sizes, from a Chinese dragon to a massive whale. We talked about times when we’d flown a kite (most of my experiences have not been impressive!) and then, during library lunchtime, we decorated kite shapes as an activity.
This is a delightful story that not only makes us think about the weather but also how different family members can have fun together. A great book for everyone, but especially a boy to share with his fun-loving grandfather.