A Walk Along the Riverbank is a gentle, waterside meander with tactile pictures of an otter and wildflowers – Great Willowherb, Yellow Water-Lily, Yellow Flag Iris. Atmospheric music and evocative wildlife sound effects accompany our stroll on the audio guide. If your book club is borrowing this title here’s our selection of ideas to help you bring this topic to life for the enjoyment of group members.
Discussion, reminiscence and reflection
The main themes in this book include walking and rambling, nature, rivers, lakes and streams, wild flowers and wildlife conservation. Perhaps use one of these as a starting point for a discussion.
For example, walking is a great, healthy activity for the body and mind. Discuss and reminisce about memorable walks. Using the group’s collective knowledge of the local area, share and offer suggestions for local wildlife hot spots, destinations, restful and exhilarating natural places to walk, picnic and enjoy.
For example, an art and craft session, tactile object handling or a local visit. To explore the scent of wild flowers and the look and feel of the watery habitats through the seasons – collect found objects together that illustrate the changes.
Organise a painting session using watercolours, so the group can create their own beautiful watery landscapes inspired by the audio guide and tactile pictures. Enhance your creative session by playing some of our watery music suggestions (see below).
Invite a local person to talk to the group
For example, perhaps there is local rambling group in your area and one of their representatives could come and chat about walks and waterside wildlife in the area, or take the group on a guided ramble if there are waterways nearby.
Music and song
Our suggestions for classical music on a watery theme include Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain) by Debussy, Jeux d’Eau (Water Games or Fountains) by Ravel, Reflets dans l’eau (Reflections on the Water) by Debussy, The Moldau by Smetana and La Mer by Decaux.
Literature and poetry
Plan to have 1 or 2 pieces ready to recite. Good sources are your local library. Or you could ask the group to come up with their ideas.
For literature we love Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson, a classic story about an otter living in the Devonshire countryside, which captures the feel of life in the wild as seen through the otter’s own eyes. Also, A Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell, which is quoted on the audio guide and Sweet Thames Run Softly by Robert Gibbings. On the eve of the Second World War in 1939, the author launched his homemade punt on the River Thames and began a slow journey downstream, with a sketchpad and a microscope.