Reading lesson: The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

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Using the novel The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd you will learn about selecting key pieces of information from a text and evaluating the text while giving a personal opinion.

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 answer the following questions.

The questions follow the order of the text so the answer to the first question can be found near the beginning of the extract.

  • What does Salim say is up Ted’s street?
  • Which part has Kat been reading in school?
  • What position is the pod at in this extract?
  • Why did Ted laugh?

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 and think about the events that unfold.

  • Return to the beginning of the extract and summarise what is happening in the text.
  • Try to write 8 different phrases/clauses to summarise the plot.
  • Challenge yourself to using a maximum of 6 words for each phrase/clause.

You can choose where to pause and write a summary. Here are a few to start you off.

  • Where is Salim?
  • A little white lie!
  • Ticket from stranger gone wrong.

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

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KS3 English
Puffin Books