Anne Cottringer, Alex.T.Smith (illus)
Eliot’s parents think he is a really quiet boy, but little do they know that when the clock strikes midnight he becomes a superhero with all sorts of amazing skills. He helps the mayor when the animals escape from the zoo, the coastguard when a ship is about to crash and the queen when her jewels are stolen. One night Eliot is given his biggest mission ever by the world’s most important scientists; to save the Earth from destruction. Will he succeed?
This night time adventure story with an unlikely superhero is great fun. The illustrations are witty and highly detailed with lots to spot and talk about.
Share the story
Before beginning to read the story look at the cover and end papers together and talk about what you see and what might happen in the story.
Read the first double page spread and pause to think together about what might happen at midnight. Continue reading the story to your child, pausing to look closely at the illustrations and talk about the story when your child wants to.
When you re read the story, children can join in with sections, for example all the things Eliot can do as a superhero such as hang out of helicopters and the ‘Luckily, Eliot…’ lines.
Talk about the story
Look closely at the pictures of Eliot in his bedroom. What does he like doing when he is not being a superhero? Share your favourite illustrations and look closely at all you can see in the details.
What other adventures might happen to Eliot? Can you make one up together?
Imagine together what might happen if Eliot’s parents find out he is a superhero. Finlay, five years old, says: "I loved Eliot the Midnight Superhero because I want my dreams to be like that. My favourite part in the book is when Eliot is all quiet in his bedroom and his mum and dad think he is all quiet. It's funny because he is tricking them.”
His mum Jemma comments: “Finlay's favourite activities were making a junk model superhero machine. He made one that superheroes go through to get dressed and it puts their costume on for them and their ‘flying gear’. He made another one which was a robot that turned into a car. Lastly, he made a space rocket with a drawbridge with his sisters, and they played in this for a whole week; flying off to the beach and the moon.”
Things to make and do
Play a game
Print off the luckily/unluckily game. Cut out the cards. Spread the luckily cards out. Pile up the emergency cards eg lions have escaped from the zoo. Read these one at a time to your child – they can find the matching luckily card.
Write Eliot’s diary
Make a mini book to use as a diary. Children can imagine they are Eliot and write about some of their adventures taming lions, catching criminals and saving ships from rocks.
Write an Advert
Print off the template so children can make a poster advertising Eliot’s services. What can he do? What skills does he have?
Make a junk model superhero machine
Using cardboard boxes and tubes and plastic containers make a junk model machine for Eliot like his Meteor Busting rocket launcher. What will you call it? What will it do?
Find out more
Plot Eliot’s travels to save the world from a meteor storm on a map or globe here .
Find out about author Anne Cottringer here
Other titles include: When Titus Took the Train with Sarah McIntyre.
Find out about author/illustrator Alex T. Smith here
Other titles include: Claude in the City.