The class book review: Steven Seagull, Action Hero

Alice Edgington

News article image

Title: Steven Seagull, Action Hero
Author: Elys Dolan
Publisher: OUP

Teacher review

It was a perfect day for reading Steven Seagull, Action Hero to Butterfly class. The sun was shining, and I was dreaming of walking my dog on the beach. The children were excited to see a new book and thought it fitted into our “Superhero” topic.

They had initial visions of a seagull saving the day and, although Steven doesn’t turn out to be an actual superhero, he comes pretty close. While Martina suggested he might “save the whole world”, Sam hit the nail on the head suggesting “he might save the beach”.

I did think some of the vocabulary might be a bit over the foundation-stage children’s heads, but Archie explained that retired is “when you’re over-tired”. Rosie expanded: “It’s when you can’t do your job because you’re getting too old.” I was beginning to think that perhaps I, too, was due to retire soon!

And so, Steven Seagull steps back into the working world, owing to mysterious sand holes popping up all over the beach. The children had oodles of suggestions as to how Steven might solve this mystery.

“He’s got to try to look for clues!” said Reuben. “Or spy on people!” exclaimed Martina, while Toby thought he should just “hop into the sea”.

steven seagull action hero, class book review, elys dolan

Sitting in the baking classroom, I couldn’t help dreaming of hopping into the sea myself, but I had a story to read and suspects to interrogate. The children loved thinking about who the suspects could be and what excuses they might give, and the possibilities for drama and roleplay were enormous.

The text lends itself to interviewing characters and hot-seating, which could be a lot of fun, especially if you could persuade an obliging adult to dress up in character for the children to interrogate. This could be extended through the writing of speech bubbles or by recording questions on a hand-held recording device.

The book poses interesting questions, such as “Who on Earth would need so much sand?” At this point, it would be interesting to cover up some of the illustrations, as while Ellie quickly suggested “a queen” and Alexander thought it could be someone who “has a crown like a king”, Samip realised it must be “a crab!” from the crab emblems on the sand castle.

When I asked the children if they enjoyed the story, Leon called out: “Ding! It’s a tick!” Across the board, the children scored this 10/10 on their hands.

Well done, Steven Seagull. You have made into onto the Butterfly Class favourites shelf. And you made this teacher laugh a lot, too.

Alice Edgington is deputy headteacher at St Stephen’s Infant School. She tweets as @aliceedgington

Pupil review

"A seagull's got to do what a seagull's got to do."



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Alice Edgington

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