Peace At Last is perfect for telling as a multi-sensory story to a child with complex additional needs. It has a simple narrative with lots of lovely repetition and includes some very engaging noises!
Mr Bear is tired! But he can’t sleep. The story tells of his search for the perfect spot to sleep in.
It’s published by Macmillan and is easy to find in bookshops and online as both a board book and a picture book.
How to turn Peace at Last into a multi-sensory story
Start the story with some nice big noisy yawns. (If you are telling the story in a classroom you could record these onto voice recorder switches so that everyone can join in.) Shake out some rugs or blankets as the bears go to bed. Then continue with some even noisier snores! (There are some great snore sound effects online that can be downloaded for free.)
A toy aeroplane like Baby Bear’s would be great to include and if you use one with wheels you could run it up and down the arm of the person you are sharing the story with as well as ‘flying’ it around.
For the ticking clock a ‘football rattle’ works really well if you turn it very slowly. The dripping tap can be a drum beaten rhythmically with just one finger. And then you need to hum like a fridge!
Loud snuffling and meowing are needed for the hedgehop and cats. Then for the birds (including the owl) you could try some of the RSPB bird toys that make real bird noises when squeezed. For tactile interest you could use a pastry brush for the whiskers of the cat, and a scrubbing brush for the prickles of the hedgehog.
The page where Mr Bear tries to get to sleep in the car is the high point of the story. It is great if the sensory experiences reflect this. So, if possible, have LOTS of birds tweeting all at once. (You could also add a recording of birdsong.) Try adding in a large yellow silk scarf for the sunshine. This can be wafted around and even over the child you are reading to.
The ‘Brrrring’ of the alarm clock needs to be annoying! You could try using a real old-fashioned alarm clock. Or if the person you are reading to tends to startle easily you could use buzzers or a switch and allow the child to be in charge of the noise!
Finish the story with the rattle of a teaspoon in a tea cup. You could use some loose leaf tea as well for the smell. (Choose one with a stronger smell like Earl Grey .)
Remember – not all of my props recommendations are toys! The props I suggest should not be used by children unsupervised.