Muddling Metaphors?


A.F. Harrold uses metaphors and similes to illustrate a character or evoke emotion. This lesson is an opportunity for the children to locate examples of figurative language and discuss their responses to it as well as reflect on how the image creates meaning.


  • Copies of The Song from Somewhere Else, at least one between two
  • Definitions of the terms ‘metaphor’, ‘simile’ and ‘figurative language’ to display
  • Upload a copy of the table on your IWB so that you can reveal a column at a time.
Figurative Language Example Effect
Simile Their laughter was like knives being dropped. The reader understands it is cruel dangerous, mocking laughter.
Metaphor He was the lion that loped alongside the antelope calling it names until the antelope started to cry. He is more powerful than them and is enjoying the fear he strikes in them rather than the kill.


Begin the lesson with the quote “‘ You’re muddling your metaphors, again,’ said her stomach.” 

  • What is a metaphor?
A metaphor is used to make a comparison between two things that aren’t alike but do have something in common.

If this is a new idea, provide some examples and invite the children to create their own metaphors.

No pose the question:

  • I wonder what the stomach meant about muddled metaphors. If the children are unsure, provide a simple explanation.

Once you have ensured everyone understands what a metaphor is, explain that this is one type of figurative language

  • Do you know any other types of figurative language? The children may already be familiar with similes.
simile is used to compare two unlike things. It is often introduced by like or as Such as ‘As cool as a cucumber’ orA smile like sunshine.’

Once you have established understanding of metaphors and similes, show them the table above. Don’t reveal the examples and effects. Then say that you have found a metaphor and a simile from the first chapter of The Song from Somewhere Else.  

Their laughter was like knives being dropped.

He was the lion that loped alongside the antelope calling it names until the antelope started to cry. 


  • Which is the simile, and which is the metaphor?

Reveal the table. Now ask 

  • Why do you think A.F. Harrold would use similes and metaphors in his writing?

Allow time for partner discussion before sharing responses. 

  • What does the simile tell us about the laughter?

Next, show the effect in the table. 

Repeat with the lion metaphor. After discussion, see if the children agree with the effect already written in the table. 

Explain that A.F. Harrold uses figurative language to describe his characters and their emotions and that you would like them to explore the text to find further examples of similes and metaphors. 

Ask them to draw a table like the one displayed and add any metaphors and similes that they find in the story. Then ask them to add an explanation of the effect on the reader. Working in pairs will provide an opportunity for shared thinking.

After 15 – 20 minutes, ask the children to share their table with another pair. Then ask them to choose their favourite metaphor or simile. 

Each child writes their favourite on a sticky note and sticks them on a designated display space. Allow time for the class to view and read some aloud.

Final reflection

Ask the children to come up with some similes or metaphors to finish the following sentences:

Reading a good book is…

Words are…

Unkind words are…

The Problem with Parents


Frank and Nick are both being bullied, and for a variety of reasons, neither of them can talk to their parents about the misery they are suffering. Even when the bullies are in their sight, both Dads misinterpret the situation and are friendly to their child’s nemesis. Frank’s mother is often distracted on her phone or away with work. Nick’s mother is living in another world (yet ironically appears to make the most effort to communicate through her beautiful, soothing music). This lesson explores what the parents might be thinking in these moments.


  • Copies of The Song from Somewhere Else, at least one between two
  • Download and print the scenario cards.
  • Organise space in your classroom or teach in the hall.
Page 23

When Mr Underbridge comes home to find Nick and Frank trying to get into the house away from Neil, Rob and Roy.

Page 67 

When Frank and her dad are driving home from the old woman’s house after discovering that the cat was not Quintilius Minimus.

Page 104

Nick and Frank are watching his Troll Mother make her beautiful music and she looks at them and smiles.

Page 108- 109

When Mr Patel meets Neil and his goons in the rec and leaves Frank with them to go and collect Hector.

Page 131 – 132

When Nick turns up at Frank’s house and Mr Patel is making jokes about lunch with Nick and Frank.

Page 199 – 200

When Nick’s Troll mother is holding him in her arm whilst holding the ‘stick-thing’ in the air

Page 209

When Frank tells her mum the whole story of the last few days.


Explain that you are going to explore the relationships between the adults and their children in the book? 

In pairs, ask them to re-read from “Frank looked… to… ‘Don’t be so silly Frank. ’ on page 23. 

Discuss the gap between child and adult perceptions.

  • What differences do you notice in the way the adults and children think?

If needed, use supplementary prompts:

  • Do you understand Frank’s feelings about the adults?
  • Do you think adults understand/remember what it is like being a child? 
  • Do you think the adults in the story have any ideas about how their children are feeling? If they don’t pick up on it highlight the line (not that she ever said much). 
  • Do you think that Frank’s parents would have thought she was silly if she had told them everything Neil Noble had been doing? 
  • Do you think Nick’s Dad ever thought about how different Nick must look to other children and how that might affect his friendships?

Once you have had a discussion, explain that you are going to consider events from the perspective of the adults. It would be important first to agree from the evidence that all the parents in this story love their children and care about them, but their children are not telling them what is going on. Also, consider the sorts of worries parents might naturally have about their children.

Now organise the children into groups of 4. 

Each group takes a scenario card. Some groups will double up on scenarios, but it will be interesting to see the different responses. 

In groups, return to the page in the book referenced on the scenario card. And re-read around the event to remind themselves what was happening. 

Next, write down all the thoughts they think the adult in that situation might have been having. Remind them that as we learnt from the voice of Frank’s stomach, it is possible to have conflicting thoughts and feelings. 

After exploring the adult perspective, ask each group to make a freeze-frame of the situation, while one child speaks the thoughts of the adult. 

Once they have the idea, encourage them to experiment with ways of doing this. For example, they could have a different person speaking the critical voice; they might decide to have s a thought that keeps repeating between the other thoughts.   Give a couple of examples and then allow some time for them to devise their piece and to practise it.

Take it in turns to share their performances.

Final reflection

  • Is it important to talk to our parents or adult carers about our worries? 
  • Who can you turn to when you need to discuss a worry?


Children to complete senarios in books