Reading lesson: The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Learn how to use and analyse an extract using the novel The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd. The extracts in this lesson will help you consider and explain why the writer chooses specific language.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos of Oti Mabuse reading extracts from the book

  • three activities


Watch Oti Mabuse read the first extract and think about the following.

  • How well do Kat and Ted get on as siblings?
  • What does Dad think about Aunt Glo?
  • Why does Ted laugh along even though he is not sure what is funny?
Oti Mabuse reads an extract from 'London Eye Mystery'

Now watch Oti read a second clip from The London Eye Mystery.

Oti Mabuse reads an extract from 'The London Eye Mystery'


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Extract 1

‘Kat?’ I said.


‘What does it mean when something is up your street?’


‘Salim said The Tempest would be right up my street. He acted in it at school last term.’

Kat laughed. ‘We’ve been reading it at school too. Mr Moynihan keeps making me read Miranda’s part and she’s such a ... dishrag.’

I considered this. ‘So it’s not up your street?’

‘No way.’

The pod was nearing one o’clock. ‘What d’you think of Auntie Glo?’ Kat asked.

I remembered what Dad said about her leaving a trail of devastation in her wake. Then I remembered how she’d said I was like Andy Warhol, a cultural icon. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Me neither. I heard Dad say to Mum that Auntie Glo drives him bananas. And I found two empty bottles of wine on top of the fridge.’

In my mind’s eye, Aunt Gloria turned into a motorist with driving goggles and a huge consignment of bananas in the back seat.

‘You mean, she drives him bananas the same way I drive you nuts?’ I said.

‘Bananas. Nuts. Round the bend. Off your trolley. Whatever.’

She laughed and I joined in because it showed I knew what she meant even if I wasn’t sure what was funny about Aunt Gloria making Dad feel insane.

Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim steps into a pod on the London Eye, and disappears. Now Ted and Kat must follow a trail of clues across London, racing against time. Published by Puffin.

Read Extract 1 again and consider what we learn about the different characters.

Sometimes we need to read between the lines to know what a character is thinking or to explain how they are behaving.

Answer the questions below.

  1. When Ted asks Kat a question she replies with, “Huh?” What does this tell us about Kat?

  2. When Kat asks Ted what he thinks of Aunt Glo, he replies, “I don’t know.” Use the text to explain why he is not sure about his answer.

  3. Explain why Ted laughs along at the end of the extract even though he is not sure what is funny.

Activity 2

Extract 2

We walked over to where Mum and Aunt Gloria were having coffee.
‘Let’s lie,’ hissed Kat.

‘About taking that ticket from a stranger.’

She grabbed me by the wrist so hard it hurt.

‘Lie,’ I repeated. ‘Hrumm. Lie.’

‘We could say that Salim got lost in the crowds, that he—’ She let my wrist go. ‘Oh, forget it,’ she said. ‘I know telling a lie with you is useless. And stop doing that duck-that’s-forgotten-how-to-quack look!’

We reached the table where Aunt Gloria and Mum sat talking up another storm. We stood by them in silence. A pounding started up in my ears, as if my blood pressure had shot up above normal, which is what Mum says happens to her when Kat drives her distracted.

‘There you are,’ Aunt Gloria said. ‘Have you got the tickets?’

Kat waited for me to say something.

I waited for Kat to say something.

‘Where’s Salim?’ asked Mum. ‘Not still in the queue?’

‘Hrumm,’ I said. ‘No.’

Mum looked as if Salim might be behind us. ‘Where then?’

Read Extract 2 again. Think about how the writer deliberately chooses language to create a relationship between the writer and the reader.

Look at the following examples and explain how the writer/reader relationship is developed.

ExampleImpact on the reader
She grabbed me by the wrist so hard it hurtThe writer is showing the reader that Kat really hurts Ted when she grabs his wrist. This is because Ted refers to the ticket from the stranger and that clearly is on Kat’s mind and is causing her distress to think about it.
And stop doing that duck-that’s-forgotten-how-to-quack look.
A pounding started up in my ears, as if my blood pressure had shot up above normal…
Mum looked as if Salim might be behind us.

Activity 3

Ted struggles to understand what idioms are in Extract 2. Idioms are expressions that can’t be understood from the ordinary words in it.

The following idioms are included in this extract - something is up your street, drives him bananas, round the bend and off your trolley.

Can you explain what these idioms actually mean?

  • something is up your street
  • drives him bananas
  • round the bend
  • off your trolley

Have a look at the example answers to check.

Try to collect four more idioms to add to your writing toolkit!

Click here for example answers to activity 3

There's more to learn

Bitesize Daily lessons
KS3 English
Puffin Books