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Walk on the wuld side;Open Books

SOPHIE AND THE SEAWOLF. by Helen Cresswell. Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft. Hodder pound;4.50. Picture book for five to seven-year-olds.

Gwynneth Bailey thrills to the adventure of a night-time


A mysterious night-time sea adventure, full of poetic images, and "a wild and wicked and tearaway story". Ideal for literacy hour.

How to use it


* Find other books that begin "once upon a time". Are they traditional or modern?

* Find other stories featuring wolves. For more facts about wolves' lives, read Walk With a Wolf by Janni Howker, illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies (Walker pound;9.99).

* Compare Helen Cresswell's descriptions of the sea with those in books such as The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell (Walker pound;8.99, pound;4.99) and The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber (Walker pound;9.99, pound;4.99).

* Write a poem titled 'Talking to the Sea'. Begin with the line "Morning sea!" and end with "You might be bigger than me".

* Sophie flies through the night on the wolf's back. Write in the first person about taking a riding on a creature. Read 'The Toad and the Snail' in Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts (Puffin pound;4.99).

* In groups, give each pupil the same piece of text and ask them to highlight each sentence in a different colour. This will help them structure it as they read aloud.


Fill a display area with "A storm of gulls, their wings flashing in a navy sky", some two-dimensional, some as mobiles. Use a hair-dryer to create the impression of flight.

Science and technology

* Make a three-dimensional seascape using paints and foil. Add muted, toned creatures with silver eyes. Stand it before a mirror and light with an angled lamp. Talk about shadows and reflections.

Maths activities

* Sophie longs to touch the "millions and millions and millions of stars". Learn to draw five-pointed stars freehand in preparation for: i) Place value work. Choose a two, three or four-digit number as total, write it in the centre of the star. Split the total among the five points.

ii) Make millions sums: 27 million + 3 million = 30 million. Check with calculator, learn to write it in figures.

Gwynneth Bailey is language co-ordinator at Aldborough CP School, Norwich

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