Victorians KS2 – Cross-curricular ideas for The Curio Collectors

What's included?

PDF book topic

Key Stage



Years 3-6


Investigate botany and get hands-on with a suitcase full of curiosities in Eloise Williams’ historical adventure, The Curio Collectors. It’s perfect for a Victorians KS2 topic.

You can easily use the story as a stimulus to help deliver curriculum objectives in English, history, science, geography and art.

What is The Curio Collectors about?

Lily, Tom, and Ma Hawker make up the Curio Collectors, a trio that captivates audiences nationwide with their extraordinary trove of artefacts.

Their latest find, an intricately carved scrimshaw shell, catches the eye of a young maid on a quest to find a cherished shell that once belonged to her mother.

However, this peculiar item also draws the attention of a sinister figure who seems determined to obtain it by any means necessary. Will the Curio Collectors unravel the enigma of the carvings before it’s too late?

Victorians KS2 starter ideas

Put a picture of the book’s cover up on the whiteboard or have copies on tables for children to look at. Try asking them some of the following questions: 

  • What can you see on the front cover? 
  • What is the title? 
  • Who is the author? 
  • Who is the illustrator? 
  • Who do you think are the main characters? Why? 
  • Where do you think the story is set? 
  • When do you think the story might be set? What evidence do you have for this? 
  • Do you have an idea of what genre of story this might be? 
  • What questions does the cover make you want to ask? 
  • If you could ask one of the characters on the cover a question, what would it be? 

This is a wonderful way to encourage pupils to make predictions about a story and provide evidence for them.

It also allows you to gauge what prior understandings of a genre or theme the children already have and whether they are able to link the subject of the book to their own pre-existing knowledge or experiences.

Who is author Eloise Williams?

Eloise Williams is a Welsh author who lives on the coast. This influence of the wildness around her is apparent in her beautiful writing where nature and the elements often play a key role.

Her longer middle-grade novels are rich and atmospheric with punchy lead characters. The book’s publisher, Barrington Stoke, specialises in writing short, snappy, highly accessible books in a specially developed dyslexia-friendly font.

It has an extensive range of titles from some of the very best children’s authors, aimed at a variety of reading ages and interest levels.

Eloise Williams is one of a growing roster of fabulous middle-grade authors to have joined Barrington Stoke’s illustrious ranks.

Jo Cummins is an advisory teacher for a specialist provision, an experienced English lead, and a children’s book blogger. She has been part of the judging panel for several children’s book awards and has delivered workshops at conferences across the country. Follow Jo on Twitter @BookSuperhero2 and see more of her work at 

Victorians KS2 – Cross-curricular ideas for The Curio Collectors

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