Welcome to October’s Touring Picture Book Club and with the stormy autumnal weather we’ve been having recently we have a very fitting book to share with you this month. Storm by Sam Usher, published by Templar Books.
Storm is the fourth in a series of books from writer and illustrator Sam Usher which follow a young boy and the adventures he has with his grandad in the snow, rain, sun and now, a storm. Every book starts in the same way; the boy wakes up, looks out of his window and discovers something exciting.
Full of enthusiasm he races to find his grandad, desperate to have an adventure. He just can’t decide what to do, but grandad knows that a windy day is the best day to fly a kite of course. They search the house high and low for the kite and there are some beautifully touching moments where they find items they used in their previous adventures and reminisce.
There’s so much excitement in getting everything perfect that the boy and his grandad are always slightly delayed in getting out to experience the extreme weather. During this time the weather becomes more dramatic than ever with lively illustrations of what’s going on just outside the front door.
When they’re finally ready they step out and the adventures can really begin. These books build up the action so gently from what is a normal activity to a crescendo that breaks the barrier between real life and imagination. One minute they are flying their kites on a blustery hill and the next they are really flying, swooping amongst the clouds with fantastical kite creatures.
The bond between grandchild and grandparent is truly special and these two capture the essence of it perfectly. Sam Usher’s watercolour illustrations are wonderfully grand but also tender and full of affection. All the books leave you feeling warm and snug, which is exactly what you need on a stormy autumn day.
Buy Storm from Wordery – priced at just £4.98 with free UK delivery! (Price correct at the time this blog post was published)
Autumn Sensory Basket
Inspired by this book we headed out in the stormy weather, although thankfully we managed to keep all our feet firmly on the ground! My children absolutely love collecting conkers at this time of year so we extended this a bit further and looked on the ground for all the different things that get blown off the trees in autumn. Here a some of the treasures we found…
Just going outside and searching for things is a fantastic activity in itself for young children. It offers so much opportunity for increasing their knowledge about nature and the change of the seasons, developing fine motor skills as they select and pick up different sized things, not to mention prizing shiny conkers out of their spiky cases.
It’s also a great sensory experience with so many different textures, sizes and weights of all these treasures. My eldest in particular does not like to throw anything away so any treasures we find are sure to make their way home with us. Rather than have hundreds of conkers rolling around the house for weeks we put them all together in an autumn sensory basket.
I love this little wicker basket we have, it was a lucky charity shop find from a few years ago but absolutely anything will do to hold your sensory basket items. Here’s ours in a drawer we emptied from one of our Ikea storage units instead.
There’s so much you can do with sensory baskets and my children are really enjoying exploring the items they’ve found, it’s lovely to let them take the lead and see where you end up. You might start thinking you’ll sort everything into colours and end up building mini woodland dens or a making a huge collage.
My youngest loves to do anything messy so we decided to do some painting, I thought about leaf prints but as he’s still quite young he would probably need me to do most of it so we came up with shaking painting! This is a great mark making activity and perfect for children who like to get messy and are quite energetic. To start we stuck a plain piece of paper in the bottom of a tray (this is still our empty Ikea storage drawer, no special trays required, empty any plastic box and it will work just fine) and poured out some autumn colour paints.
Next, we selected the autumn treasures we thought would roll well inside the tray, dipped them in the paint and popped them on to the paper.
Once we’d put a few in all that was left to do was shake and watch the paint do its thing!
And of course, the more you shake it, the more marks you make and the more colours go all over your paper. My youngest loved being able to shake a tray of paint really hard and he was so proud of his finished autumn colour painting.
You don’t have to limit this to autumn colours either, try putting two primary colours in and see how the colours mix to make a new one or try all the colours of the rainbow for a real colour explosion. This will also work with any item that will roll around a tray if it’s not autumn or you happen to have no conkers lying around your house.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this months Touring Picture Book Club, be sure to check out the posts from our fellow book bloggers for more Storm themed activities:
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