Class book review: Orphans of the Tide

This adventure story, about a girl who cuts a boy out of a whale, was a constant topic of conversation through breaks and lunchtimes

Sophie Bartlett

Orphans of the Tide - front cover

Orphans of the Tide

Author: Struan Murray
Illustrator: Manuel Sumberac
Publisher: Puffin
Details: 352 pp, £7.99
ISBN: 9780241384435

Teacher review

Although perhaps a little long to use in English lessons, Orphans of the Tide would be a brilliant text to use as a class story, with a book club or as a high-quality text to extend those children achieving greater depth (it is definitely aimed at very able readers). 

The children in my class who read this book couldn’t stop telling me about it. They really were hooked from the get-go and would be desperate to talk about the plot with me at break and lunchtimes. 

The diary extracts interspersed throughout the book gave us a great opportunity to compare the grammar and other linguistic devices used to create tone and perspective. 

As well as the engaging story and well-developed characters, the text is full of wonderful vocabulary and complex plotlines. This book is a must-have in any Year 6 teacher’s classroom.

Sophie Bartlett is Year 6 teacher at Great Rollright C of E Primary School, Chipping Norton 

Pupil reviews

‘I would rate this book 15 out of 10’

Orphans of the Tide is an amazing book. It starts very suddenly when a girl called Ellie cuts open a whale to reveal a boy called Seth. Together, Ellie and Seth have to face the dangerous inquisitors to prove he is innocent. 

I would rate this book 15 out of 10 and would recommend it to Year 5 upwards. I really hope that Struan Murray writes a sequel!

Fleur, Year 6

‘Really dangerous and exciting’

I really enjoyed reading Orphans of the Tide. It was filled with mystery and secrets. I could not put this book down and found it really dangerous and exciting. It feels like a mix of different books put together, but then also adding extra new parts to make a scary/thrilling/sad story. 

I would recommend this to anyone from about 10 years onwards because it’s a bit scary and might frighten young children. 

My favourite part was near the beginning when the boy, Seth, came out of the whale – I found it fascinating. I think the author, Struan Murray, has written a fabulous book and I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.

Eleanor, Year 6

‘I couldn’t put it down – even for toast’

Orphans of the Tide was an amazing book and I couldn’t put it down – even when I was eating my toast! It is packed full of wonderful words and delightful description. 

I loved this book so much that it was such a shame it had to end on page 342! If a sequel is written, I will be the first to open and read it. Struan Murray is an amazing author.

Isabelle, Year 5

‘As soon as you pick it up, you are glued’

Orphans of the Tide is an incredible read for ages 10-13. As soon as you pick it up, you are glued to not only the stunning cover but the incredible pages and writing itself. 

Personally, it takes me about two weeks to finish a book. But, because of the enticing story, I finished this one in around five days. At breaktime at school, this book has a gift for making its way into any fun conversation for its amazing storyline. 

My ultimate favourite character in this book is without a doubt Castion. I think he is brave and, although Ellie has a place in his heart, he always tries to do what is best for everyone. Even after he finds out about Ellie’s secret, it doesn’t change how he feels for her. 

I loved this book. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, and was relatable, too. When you read it, you feel as if you are part of their world. I think Struan Murray did an incredible job! 

Dotty, Year 6

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Sophie Bartlett

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