Esio Trot is full of rich material that can be used specifically for Literacy lessons or across a variety of subjects in school. Written by Roald Dahl and first published in 1990 it is a book about the relationship between Mr Hoppy and his neighbour Mrs Silver. How can it used?
Speaking and Listening
The children can share opinions about the book and decide which character they liked the best. There is the opportunity to recap on the novel and children can discuss parts they liked and disliked about the book. More confident children can read parts of the book or even some of the dialogue. Children could talk about their favourite animals.
Roald Dahl uses entertaining names such as: Mr Hoppy, Mrs Silver and Roberta Squibb. The names often suit the character’s personality. The children can create their own fun names or compare character names from other books. The book lends itself to different writing genres and imaginary spells can be written. Book reviews can be shared. Letters can be written to the tortoise and wedding invitations can be part of the experience. Acrostic animal poems could be written and made into a poetry book.
There is the opportunity for playing with words. The spells are written in code and the children can enjoy creating their own codes. Children could use non-fiction books to compare the features of a story book and information books.
There are several references to mathematical terms that can be explored. There is the opportunity to remind children of words such as similar, heavier than, lighter than and the same as. When Mr Hoppy buys different kinds of tortoises he selects ones that looks similar to Alfie. He uses colour and then weight to determine which one will go up on the balcony. Weights and measures can be explored. There is the opportunity to look at objects or animals that are heavier, lighter, smaller and bigger than. Bar graphs of the children’s favourite animals or pets they have at home can be a starting point for a lesson on bar graphs.
For teachers who are looking at animals and their habitats then Esio Trot is a good fiction text to have to complement this topic. Wild animals and pets can be compared and contrasted. If there are some pets in the classroom the children can research scientific information about them.
Mr Hoppy is very shy. The issue of shyness and what it feels like to lack confidence can be explored in circle time. Relationships and friendships are key themes in the books that can also be talked about.
*Art and Design Technology
Designing and making wedding invitations, painting a tortoise or making a 3D model using papier mache, play dough or clay are all ways in which the book can be brought to life in an educational setting. The block of flats they Mrs Silver and Mr Hoppy live in could be drawn or made from boxes.
In conclusion Esio Trot is ideal for a wide range of subjects. With large print and bold illustrations it is a book that doesn’t take long to read and one that will keep the class entertained.