Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Small Saul

Spires, Ashley (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781554535033 (hardcover)
9781554539598 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, structures and features

Awards

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award – Finalist – 2012
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2012

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When Saul proves too small for the Navy, he keeps his dream of sailing on the high seas alive by becoming a pirate instead. Unfortunately, his tough and swarthy shipmates are not very kind about Saul’s gentle nature and domestic penchant. They push him overboard and sail away. But as the ship falls into disarray, the pirates realize they miss Saul’s unique contributions and race back to get him.

Small Saul is primarily about staying true to what you love and who you are, even in the face of rejection. When Saul is rejected by the Navy on the basis of his stature (an objective standard), he finds a work-around by training hard to become a pirate. When Saul is rejected by his peers because of his gentle nature (a subjective standard), he waits patiently until his unique talents are recognized. Themes of masculine identity and bullying are touched on, but the book is never moralistic.

Illustrations are cartoon-like and whimsical. With his thick eyeglasses, Saul radiates wide-eyed goodwill. The drawings are rich in details that are not mentioned in the text, allowing students to make discoveries that go beyond the teacher’s narration.

  •  

    Discuss why Saul did not fit in with the stereotype of a pirate. What did the pirates eventually realize about Saul?

  •  

    Using a graphic organizer, compare Saul with the other pirates.

  •  Make a list of pirate words and organize them in ABC order.
  •  

    Rewrite the story from the point of view of a pirate on the ship.

  •  

    Make a class list of words and expressions that refer to pirates. Use resources as necessary.

  •  

    Using a graphic organizer, compare Saul to the regular pirates.

  •  

    Discuss how the pirates realized that “just like treasure, Small Saul was rare.”

  •  

    Create a poster to advertise a job as pirate.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Geography, History and Citizenship