Sun by Sam Usher

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Published by Templar, 2017.

From the sparkling title font to the glistening sand on the front door steps, the cover of this glorious picture book draws you straight in to the shimmering heat of summer.

IMG_2512A young boy wakes up and it’s sunny: the hottest day of the year. He and his grandad plan an adventure: their mission – to find the perfect picnic spot. They pack their provisions and set off. Grandad has a set of very specific requirements for the perfect picnic spot. It must be picturesque, in the shade, and benefiting from a cool breeze. Their quest is long and punctuated with frequent rest stops (Grandad gets tired easily). They journey on across the desert and past an oasis until they finally find the perfect picnic spot, only to discover that some pirates have beaten them to it…

IMG_2508This is the third book in Sam Usher’s weather series. All three books are about the same young boy and his grandad, and an adventure that they share together. There are other, subtle links too: penguin and monkey (the boy’s cuddly toys) feature in all three books (it’s fun to spot what they’re up to in different scenes) and the toy ship in Rain bears a striking resemblance to the pirate ship in Sun. I love these subtleties and how all three books work so well together. Within the first half of Sun there’s also a gentle, playful foreshadowing of the book’s pirate ship denouement: the parrot perched on the lamp post, the Jolly Roger flag in the sandcastle, and the boy’s one-legged pirate doll. I love these touches because they give the story an extra depth.

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Sam Usher’s amazing watercolours seem to radiate heat. His illustrations capture the oppressive heat of a baking hot day perfectly. Many of the illustrations are incredibly detailed. There’s loads to look at and you can spend ages spotting everything that’s going on.

There’s a fun repetitive element to the text; it’s a bit like a chorus and it makes it really easy for children to join in with the story telling.

Sun is a joyful celebration of where your imagination can take you, and a heart-warming tale of the love between grandfather and grandson.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 2+

Thank you to Templar for sending me this book to review.

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