A family prepares to weather the storm that is brewing outside. Safe inside while the storm rages around them, two brothers, David and George, wonder if the family cat Hannibal is safe and ponder about what they might find when the hurricane subsides. The morning after they find an uprooted tree, which becomes a magical place, transporting them on adventures limited only by their imaginations.
Grab a blanket before reading this brilliant picture book for older readers by the ridiculously talented David Wiesner. From the minute you open the book you will feel the wind blowing and a temptation to ‘batten down the hatches’. The story bought back childhood memories for me of playing with my sister in the fields near our house and the closest to a Hurricane I’ve ever experienced (and those living in South East England in 1987 will remember – The Great Storm).
The perspective of the illustrations is varied and engaging from the ‘eye-in-the-sky’ view of the house and garden to the close up of the boys and Hannibal snuggled in the fallen tree.
The sounds evoked from the illustrations provide stimulus for work on developing the auditory imagination. A read aloud session, followed by playing a soundtrack of increasingly ferocious wind could not fail to inspire some excellent writing.
A versatile story
Sharing this book in the classroom also provides an excellent opportunity to introduce the works of Ted Hughes, by comparing his poem Wind with the portrayal of a storm in the story.
Obviously this story links perfectly with weather study – there is even a forecast mentioned at the beginning of the book. The imaginary expedition also fits in nicely with other books that explore using the imagination such as Quentin Blake’s classic The Green Ship or John Burningham’s ‘Come Away from the Water. Titles that remind children that without distraction their imaginations can take them anywhere.
The boys’ dreams appear to be shattered when the lumberjacks arrive but David and George quickly discover there is always another tree waiting to be explored. Hurricane is as effective as every Wiesner picture book at reminding children that their imagination has no bounds.
This title previously featured in our Reading Gladiators Year 4 selection.
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