Sharing a Shell

DSC_5076Last week I waxed lyrical about how lovely it was to get Daddy involved in our book fun. Well, this week it’s the girls’ Granny’s turn to take the lead and bring a book to life.

When I was little, Granny (know to me as The Mothership) was a reading role model.  She always had a book on the go, strongly encouraged my reading and ensured we made great use of our local library.  From an early age I adored books and I still recall the rush of independence that came with learning to read; a whole world had been opened up to me and it was her wonderful example that made sure I was eager to explore it.

Well, now she’s proving a great influence on my children too.  On her last visit, she brought a box of shells she’d collected and asked me to hunt down a beachy sort of book.  Sharing a Shell, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks, is a bright, engaging tale that I introduced when we were having some sharing ‘issues’ with the girls. It gave us a nice starting point for talking about the benefits of sharing and appreciating others.

In Sharing a Shell, Crab finds a new shell, which he ends up sharing with a couple of other sea critters, Blob and Brush, each bringing something unique and valuable to the table.  Sadly, Crab and his shell-mate Blob have a falling out and the three go their separate ways before Brush manages to bring them back to together and we leave the rock pool with the trio living in perfect harmony.

What did Granny do?

First of all, Granny got the box of shells out and spent some time sharing them with the girls. They talked about the texture and the way the shells looked and she told them about where she collected them and what they were.  After selecting the shell that looked most like Crab’s home, Granny read the book with the girls before heading off to the table to do some shell inspired drawings.


What were originally some interesting drawings of the shells were soon jazzed up by A adding Crab, Blob and Brush into the mix.  The story was still clearly on her mind and both girls had a lovely time observing, exploring and creating.

How did it go?

This was a simple activity that grounded a lovely story in the real world, something I’m always a fan of doing. A and V are always happy to get involved with drawing and creating so they were more than happy to stay shell-focused for a while.  The shells fascinated them and they learned the word ‘delicate’ from their exploration of the more fragile examples. It was a lovely and engaging way to extend their vocabularies and I’ve already built on it with other interesting objects.

How can you use this?

  • Find an unusual object and see if your child can think of a book it links to
  • Sandwich a story reading between other relevant activities if you’ve got a more reluctant reader – this all felt nicely paced and progressed naturally from one thing to the next
  • Introduce characters into drawing activities – it was lovely seeing Blob, Crab and Brush appear in A’s shell still lifes


Read With Me

5 thoughts on “Sharing a Shell”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever read Sharing a Shell with my daughter but it’s a lovely book to combine with shell hunting on the beach. It looks like the shells and the story provided your children with lots of entertainment :o)


  2. Such a lovely activity. This is a great book too and a perfect one for summer holidays. We collected loads of shells last time we were at the beach so I’m always looking for activities to use them for. #readwithme

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