A Grand Day Out: Review

“Wallace & Gromit. A Grand Day Out.”

Director: Nick Park

Peter Viney and Karen Viney (Student’s book, film adaptation),
Lorena Roberts (Teacher’s book)

Publisher:  OUP 2003

32 pages (teacher’s book),
48 pages (student’s book),
25 minutes (film’s duration)

Reviewer  Katarzyna Galecka, IATEFL Poland
12th IATEFL POLAND CONFERENCE
Wroclaw 2003

Reviewer’s rating:  * * * * *

“A Grand Day Out” is a set of two books and a film: teacher’s book, student’s book and a video cassette. The video is an adaptation of the animated film by the Oscar-winning creator of “The Wrong Trousers”. It is a shortened version and for the purpose of the ELT classes the language has been simplified and narration has been added. However, the accent has not been changed, therefore both Wallace and the narrator speak with Northern accents.

The set was created for young learners at the beginner level. However, some previous knowledge of English may be required. The film is divided into six episodes divided into two sections each. The teacher’s book is just perfect: it gives a detailed description of what should be done, leaving the teacher in no doubt. It also provides some hints on what might be done with students at a slightly higher level than beginners. Each episode is described on 4 pages. There is a detailed description and a division into:

– before you watch, after you watch (watching the complete episode),

– Section one – before you watch and after you watch,

– Section two – before you watch and after you watch (watching the episode in sections),

– before you watch again, while you watch (watching the whole episode again), and

– practise.

As you can see, we watch the episode 3 times, during which students are asked to do different exercises from the book. As far the student’s book is concerned, it is simple, colourful, full of pictures, and simply interesting and appealing for a young student. It provides a great variety of exercises. It also provides tapescripts (to be used after watching) and a picture dictionary.

Although the authors suggest that the material can be used by older students, I do not consider this appropriate. But if so, I wouldn’t use the student’s book at all. I have reviewed the book with only young learners at the beginner (or lower pre-intermediate) level in mind; they would definitely benefit from it. That is why I marked the set as 5. For young learners the film is involving and interesting, and the exercises are well written – only with them can the book be fully explored.

A great variety of techniques is used in the lessons, which are designed to last 1.5 hours (two lessons) each (and therefore the whole mini-course should last 9 hours – 12 lessons). The teacher is advised to use silent viewing activities (for prediction or reproduction or random sound down), freeze framing activities (for prediction, reproduction, background detail, thoughts and emotions) and paired viewing activities (for description, narration and a combination of these).

I do recommend this set for teachers of young learners, who would appreciate it as a break in the ordinary teaching course. It is interesting, well prepared and understands young learners’ needs. That is why I give 5 to the set.

Available from:

Added note (Peter Viney):

It isn’t a shortened version of the original, it’s full-length with a new soundtrack and division into episodes.

Leave a Reply