Grey Island Red Boat by Ian Beck

This beautiful dyslexia friendly storybook has a sweet story that develops to show how friendship can brighten up anyone’s world.

Set on the Island of Ashes, Princess Opal is stuck in a land of grey (aka November), Everything from the weather to the castle, the sea, the landscape, the flowers and the people are all grey. Her father the King spends everyday trying to stop the rain in his grey hot air balloon, until one day a boat arrives, but it is different as it is bright red. Wendell is the owner of the boat, he believes he is cursed because everything he touches turns from grey to beautiful colour. The King becomes suspicious and imprisons Wendell. Princess Opal must find a way to escape so that she can live her life with colour and love.

This book blossoms as you read the story, the illustrations come to life as colour is introduced to the story. This will hopefully make your children appreciate the colour in the world around them and could create some fantastic and engaging learning opportunities.



This book could just be used as a class read for the children to enjoy and to stimulate discussion about friendship, happiness and appreciation of the world around them. Possible activities after reading the book:

  • Write a diary entry written through the eyes of the Wendell e.g. when he was first cursed and what it felt like bringing all this colour to the world. Or as Opal discovering all the possibilities of colour and how that made her feel.
  • Write a diary entry written through the eyes of the King and what it feels like losing his daughter and being scared of the colours.
  • Write a description of an item when it was grey and when it has colour.
  • PSHE – Circle time – discussion on being a good friend and the importance of friendship.
  • Art – looking at silhouettes and how they are formed. Also colour wheels and complimentary colours.


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