This adventure story recounts the first round-world voyage of Tudor explorer Sir Francis Drake through the eyes of Dickon, a lame stowaway, who goes on to become Drake’s cabin boy and personal hero. Readers learn about the harsh life that sailors in Tudor times experienced as they coped with storms, mutinies and illness on board the ship.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Could you use the title ‘Stowaway!’ for your own exciting adventure story?
- Rewrite the story (or a part of it) from Dickon’s point of view. How was he feeling at different parts of it?
- Think about vocabulary that can be used to describe the main characters in the book, i.e. Dickon and Sir Francis Drake.
- Look through the book and find any unfamiliar words. Are any of these historical objects? What might they be for?
- At the end of the book is a summary of the main events in the story. Can you retell what happened in some / all of these parts?
- What might happen to Dickon in the future? Could you write a new story about an adventure that he has?
- Think about the weight and value of the items stolen from the first Spanish ship in Chapter 5.
- Why do ships float? Think about the forces that are involved.
- Drake scans the seas and islands in the distance with his ‘Bring ’em Near’. How might this work? What do we use today to view things that are far away? How do they work?
- Use drawing software to create a picture of the Golden Hind.
- Use mapping software to trace a journey for a ship to travel around the world.
- Can you make a model of a ship? Will it float?
- Could you have a competition with your friends / class to design and build a ship that will hold the most cargo?
- The pelican has a new ship’s head when it is renamed. Could you design your own ship’s head?
- Draw your own pictures of the Golden Hinde (see Resources below).
- At the end of the book is a summary of the main events of the story. Can you make a storyboard to summarise this (or another) book?
- Draw a portrait of Sir Francis Drake (see Resources below).
- Find out about songs that were sung at sea. Could you try singing some of them too?
- The story starts at Plymouth Harbour. Can you find this on a map?
- Which harbour is closest to where you live? Could you draw a map showing different harbours in your country?
- Draw your own map showing the journey that the Pelican takes.
- Draw a plan of the ship showing the different parts / masts mentioned in the book. Watch this video that shows different parts of a replica of the Golden Hinde in London. You can also read more about the ship on their website.
- Think about when this story was set. What year might it be? What famous events took place around that time?
- Could you make a timeline and use it to show when this story might have taken place?
- What different types of jobs would be needed on a ship like the one that Dickon stows away on?
- Make a list of things that you might need for an adventure on the Golden Hinde.
- Find out about Francis Drake and write a biography about him.
- Dickon can’t get a job on the ship because of his ‘lame leg’. How did this make him feel?