Wednesday, July 24, 2024
The River

The River

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Tom Percival

Rowan loves the river; it’s just like he is. On some days, it’s quiet and calm, on others it’s light and playful, and then there are the days when it roars along, wild and angry. But when Rowan goes through a particularly difficult winter, the river freezes – just like Rowan. Can Rowan find a way to release his frozen feelings, and allow the river to flow freely once more?

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Could you write a story with the title ‘The River’? What might happen? How will a river feature in the events of the story?
  • Look at the front cover of the book (before reading). What do you think will happen? Who is the boy?
  • Make a list of words and phrases that could be used to describe a river. Can you find any in the story?
  • At one point in the story, Rowan feels ‘as cold and alone as the moon’. Can you think of other similes to describe different emotions?
  • Think of some speech / thought bubbles for Rowan at different points in the story.
  • Retell the story from Rowan’s point of view, or write some diary entries for different times in Rowan’s year.
  • Retell the story from the point of view of Rowan as an adult, looking back on his childhood.
  • How are Rowan’s emotions similar to the movement of the river as the story changes? Can you use this idea in a story of your own?
  • Write a new story about Rowan and the bird.
  • Watch this video by the author and think of some questions that you would like to ask him:


  • Make a list of plants and animals that might be found living in or near a river. How are they adapted to living there?
  • Can you make a food chain or food web based on a river habitat?


  • Make a poster that explains what to do if you find an injured bird. The RSPB has some useful advice.


  • Draw a picture of Rowan’s view as he sits beneath his favourite tree.
  • Create a picture or painting of Rowan’s dog or bird.
  • Watch the video above and try some of Tom’s techniques to show different emotions in your illustrations.


  • Compose a piece of music with the title ‘The River’.


  • Can you find out the names of any rivers that are close to where you live?
  • Draw a map that shows the rivers in a place.
  • Find out about the features of a river.
  • Make a glossary of words that are related to rivers.
  • Think about the different ways people use rivers.
  • Think about how the weather changes throughout the story. What different types of weather can you think of? How does the weather affect humans and animals?


  • Rowan explores different emotions throughout the story. Think of some times when you have felt happy, playful, sad, angry and other emotions.
  • Imagine that you are Rowan’s friend. Can you think of ways to help him when he is feeling sad?

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