Silverfin by Charlie Higson – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

Last updated

Are you looking for a new book to use in the classroom? Silverfin by Charlie Higson offers an exciting and engaging narrative with opportunities for thoughtful discussion.

As a teacher, it can be challenging to plan how best to use novels within your lesson plans, but this planning overview should help make the process easier.

With its combination of adventure, mystery, and humour, Silverfin is sure to be an enjoyable read for students—allowing them to explore themes from courage and loyalty to class differences and family dynamics.

By reading this blog post, teachers will get all the necessary information about how they can effectively incorporate Silverfin into their classrooms.

Related: For more, check out our planning overview of Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell here.

The Story of Silverfin

James Bond is an ordinary young man attending Eton College with his two best friends, Pritpal and Luke. When James is invited to spend the summer at his uncle’s estate in Scotland, he meets a mysterious young girl named Jacky.

Jacky tells him about a legend involving a giant silver eel, Silverfin, living in the lake on her father’s property. She believes that if James can capture Silverfin, he will become “the richest boy in the world.”

With Jacky and his friends by his side, James embarks on a journey that leads him across Loch Silverfin into a secret underwater cave where Silverfin wreaks havoc on their party.

After defeating the beast with help from Jacky’s wild cousin and her pet otter, James discovers that there is more to Silverfin than just money – it has dangerous secrets. As he unravels the truth behind Silverfin, James must confront his fears and ultimately embrace his destiny as the future 007.

Key Themes in Silverfin


The novel’s significant theme is the friendship between James and his two best friends, Pritpal and Luke. They are there for each other throughout their escapades, demonstrating how powerful a company can be.


Silverfin is full of thrilling adventures that take James and his friends on an action-packed journey across Scotland. The novel showcases the courage and determination necessary for any experience, from exploring deep underground caves to fighting off giant silver eels.


Although the story starts as a search for treasure, it quickly turns into a fight for survival when James discovers the true power of Silverfin. This theme demonstrates how even the most seemingly innocent tasks can turn deadly without caution.


James must navigate through layers of mystery throughout Silverfin to uncover the truth about it and its powers. This theme emphasises using logic and deduction skills to solve complex puzzles.

Key Characters in Silverfin

James Bond

James is the novel’s main character and a typical teenage schoolboy caught up in an extraordinary adventure. He is determined, courageous, and resourceful, and ultimately learns to believe in himself and embrace his destiny as the future 007.


Jacky is a mysterious young girl who helps James on his quest. She has knowledge of local legends and a connection to nature, which helps guide James on his journey.

Pritpal and Luke

Pritpal and Luke are two of James’s best friends from Eton College. They accompany him throughout the story and demonstrate the power of friendship.

Wild Cousin

The Wild Cousin is Jacky’s cousin who lives near Loch Silverfin. He helps James with his quest, providing valuable insight into Silverfin’s power and how to defeat it.

Timeline of Events in Silverfin

  • James and his friend’s journey to Scotland.
  • They explore the forbidden caves at Loch Silverfin, uncovering a strange fish that gives off an electric shock.
  • They discover the legend of Silverfin and its connection to James’s family.
  • The group is attacked by giant silver eels and narrowly escapes with their lives.
  • They enlist the Wild Cousin’s help and learn about Silverfin’s properties.
  • A rogue group attempts to use Silverfin for their evil scheme, but James intervenes and defeats them.
  • With Jacky’s help, James discovers how to control and use Silverfin’s power for good.

Teaching Opportunities in Silverfin

  • Exploring the power of friendship and teamwork
  • Discussing themes of courage and determination
  • Examining the nature of adventure and risk-taking
  • Investigating local legends and folklore
  • Analysing how technology can be harnessed for evil or good purposes.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Exploring the Power of Friendship and Teamwork


  • Students will learn about the power of friendship and teamwork.
  • Students will identify ways to work together to solve problems.
  • Students will discuss the importance of helping each other in times of difficulty.


Introduce students to James, his friends and their journey to Scotland. Discuss how they work together to uncover clues and battle evil forces.

Main Teaching Points:

Please encourage students to think about how James and his friends rely on each other for their mission to succeed. Talk about the importance of supporting one another even during difficult times. Brainstorm ways that working together can be beneficial in any situation.


Ask students to reflect on how James and his friends used teamwork throughout their adventure. What were some of the challenges they faced? How did they help each other when times got tough? Have students share experiences when they have worked well with others or had difficulty doing so in their own lives.

Key Questions:

  • What do you think are some benefits of working together as a team?
  • In what ways did James’s friends support him during challenging times?
  • How could you use teamwork and friendship in your everyday life?

Lesson Plan 2: Investigating Local Legends and Folklore


  • Students will learn about local legends and how they can shed light on the past or provide insight into current events.
  • Students will discuss what elements a local legend may have and explore different interpretations.
  • -Students will brainstorm ideas for creating their legends or folktales based on current events or personal experiences.


Discuss the concept of local legends with students, exploring why people may create them and possible lessons or meanings behind them. Introduce Silverfin’s legend, explaining that it contains elements similar to other local myths worldwide, such as talking animals, magical creatures, heroes, villains, etc.

Main Teaching Points:

  • Have students analyse Silverfin’s legend more closely, looking at specific characters, actions, settings etc., discussing what themes they represent (good vs evil, coming of age journeys etc.)
  • Ask them to compare Silverfin’s legend with others from different cultures and explain how these stories often contain overlapping messages regardless of cultural background or location (hope beats all odds, courage comes from within etc.).
  • Lead a discussion on creating new myths based on our own experiences/stories, which can be shared within our communities either verbally or through writing/artwork etc.


Allow time for each student to share some elements they would include in their myth if given a chance (aspects from nature, talking animals/objects etc.), encouraging them to draw inspiration from unique home environments/experiences as well as global issues currently taking place within society today like environmental destruction, race relations etc.

Key Questions :

  • How does Silverfin’s legend compare with ones from different cultures?
  • What are themes consistently found across many myths/legends?
  • What stories might you tell through creating your myth/legend?

Website Resources

  • Silverfin Reading Booklet  is a teaching resource designed to help pupils explore the themes and characters in the book Silverfin by Charlie Higson. The booklet contains engaging activities such as step-by-step guides to writing fan fiction, quizzes and creative tasks that get pupils thinking more deeply about Higson’s work.
  • YR 5/6 Horror Stories based on Silverfin is a teaching resource focused on exploring the horror genre for Year 5 and 6 students, using examples from the book Silverfin by Charlie Higson as a starting point. It includes lesson plans, worksheets, and play scripts with accompanying discussion points on topics ranging from fear and suspense to characterisation and setting in horror stories.
  • TeachingBooks: Silverfin provides summary information on the book Silverfin written by Charlie Higson, along with multimedia resources to enhance the learning experience of teachers and their students, including videos of interviews with the author, related literature resources, and audio recordings of readings from the book itself.


Q: What is the book Silverfin by Charlie Higson about?

A: Silverfin is a young-adult novel set in 1930s England that follows protagonist James Bond on his first adventure as he discovers a hidden world of monsters and magic. Alongside his two friends, James uncovers secrets about his family’s past that lead him to confront an old enemy in Scotland.

Q: What themes does the book explore?

A: The book explores themes such as friendship, courage and trust, good vs evil and the coming-of-age journey with James exploring new places and facing unexpected obstacles.

Q: Who wrote Silverfin?

A: Silverfin was written by author Charlie Higson. It is the first book in his popular Young Bond series.

Q: Where can I find more information about Silverfin?

A: You can find additional resources related to Silverfin, including teaching materials, interviews with author Charlie Higson and audio recordings of readings from the book at TeachingBooks.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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