A mother and baby look through a window at a view of wilderness and sky as far as the eye can see. With each page, the boy grows and the scene changes. At first, in a clear patch of forest, a single house appears. A few years pass, and there is a village in the distance. By the time the boy is twenty, the village has developed into a city. The young man gets married, has a child of his own and moves to the country, where father and child look through the window of their new home in the undeveloped wilderness outside.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- This book has won a number of awards. Can you explain why this might be?
- The collages in the book have been exhibited in galleries around the world. Can you make a persuasive poster to encourage people to go and see them?
- Choose a picture and make a list of nouns that are used to describe the people, places and objects in the scene.
- Choose a picture and make a list of adjectives that could be used to describe those nouns.
- Retell the story from the point of view of Sam.
- Retell the story from the point of view of Sam’s cat. How does it feel about the changes in the local area?
- Create some thought / speech bubbles for the people in each illustration.
- Write a letter of apology from Sam when the window got broken.
- Write a few sentences that describe each scene. Use these as narration when showing the pictures to an audience.
- If you could live in Sam’s house at just one point in the story, which would it be? Why?
- Create a written / audio version of the story. Watch this video for some ideas:
- How many animals can be found in each illustration? How many trees are there? How do the numbers of these items change as the story progresses?
- What different materials can be seen outside of the window? Why have the man-made objects been created using those materials?
- How many different creatures can you identify in the illustrations? Can you find out more about some of them?
- Use Art software to create your own image of a view from a window.
- Use stop-motion animation to show the changing landscape (as seen through a window) over a period of years.
- At the back of the book, the author explains how she created each scene. Could you use a similar technique?
- Draw another view from the same window before the first image in the book and / or after the last image in the book.
- Use the window frame template to draw the image that you can see from a window in your home / school today (see Resources below).
- Draw what that view might have looked like ten years ago and how it might look ten more years in the future.
- Draw a picture of the same window from the outside, looking in, at different points in Sam’s life.
- Create some images that show the view from different windows in a house on the same day.
- Look at the use of perspective in each image. How do we know that objects are close / further away?
- Look at each illustration and describe how the use of colour changes throughout the story. Why is this?
- Try a collage activity using the ideas and techniques shown in this video:
- How might music have changed throughout Sam’s life?
- What is the author trying to say about our environment and planet through this story?
- Think of other ways of encouraging others to see the author’s point of view.
- Choose one of the images and create a plan view map showing the places that you can see through the window. Repeat this for a different image in the story. How are your maps similar / different?
- Think of places where this story could be set. Are there any clues in the text to help you choose a location?
- Describe what is happening to the population in the area around Sam’s house. How is the local area changing to accommodate this?
- Can you identify which of these changes are ‘positive’ and which are ‘negative’?
- What are the changes in transport throughout the story?
- Create a timeline that shows the main events that have changed the landscape shown in each window scene.
- Create a timeline showing the main events in Sam’s life.