Picture book – Small Saul

Spires, Ashley. 2011. Small Saul. Kids Can Press.

Genre: Picture book
Suggested readers: Esl cycle 2 (Grade 3)

Summary (from the Publisher)

From the creator of Binky the Space Cat, a hilarious story about an unconventional little pirate.

Ahoy there! Will this sweet little pirate find his place aboard The Rusty Squid or will he be forced to walk the plank?

When Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid, it doesn’t take long for the other pirates to notice something is very different about this tiny fellow. He was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Being rough and tough just isn’t in his nature.

Small Saul learned at Pirate College that pirates only care about three things: their ship, being tough and lots and lots of treasure. Can Small Saul show these ruffians that despite his gentle spirit, he’s worth his weight in gold? With treasure chests of laughs, Small Saul’s high-seas adventure is a light-hearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one’s self.

Personal appreciation and pedagogical activities

Grade 3 students usually like pirates. It’s a fun theme to work with.

Before you start reading, you can display pirate accessories, or dress like a pirate!

If you have enough time, the animated version of the book is excellent, but the time left to read the text is too short.  You will also have to read the book to students. You can either start by reading the book or watching it on video.

And here are some suggestions for Storytime activities :

A complete teacher’s guide is available at the “centre de documentation”.

Here is an overview of the different activities you will find in the teacher’s guide.

Level: cycle 2, year 1


Because we often refer to the page number in many activities,

make sure you number the pages of the books before you start.

Class 1

  • Read the story and watch the video (20 minutes)
  • Pirate vocabulary (present key words with large cards) (5 minutes)
  • Memory game (small vocabulary cards) (15 minutes)

Class 2

  • Small Saul’s and Pirate’s characteristics

(adjectives, body parts and accessories) (15 minutes)

  • Scavenger hunt (find pictures in the book) (15 minutes)
  • Reading comprehension (Students complete their Pirate’s booklet) (30 minutes)

Class 3

  • Writing task (Arrr! I’m a pirate) (30 minutes)

Extra activities

  • X marks the spot (position words)
  • Treasure map (letters and numbers)

– Hélène Laforest, English consultant, CSSH


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