The Portal


The Portal by Andrew Norriss

Winner of the Bedfordshire Libraries Children’s Book of the Year 2008!

“William and his brother Daniel come home from school one day to find their parents have disappeared. It’s the first of a series of shocks they have to cope with, not the least of which is finding that their house has been built over an inter-stellar portal.
It’s some time before they can solve the mystery of where their parents have gone and why – and in the meantime they have to cope with visiting aliens, chickens, and making their own lunch…Andrew Norriss

Synopsis from lovereading4kids
You tend to remember the day your parents disappear. It’s one of those things that sticks in your mind. Another of those things is the incredible discovery that behind your dad’s office door lies an intergalactic portal …When both of these things happen to William Seward and his brother Daniel they’re left with two questions. What are they going to do now? And where are their parents? This is a warm, funny, accessible fiction, perfect for boys and girls aged 9 to 12. 

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Information, Resources & Reviews

Quiz  questions with answers. 5 for each chapter

Activity sheets

Book extracts to download & print – recommended for reading  aloud

Badger Guided Reading KS2 Year 6
They provide the basis for guided, shared and group reading – including guided reading sessions using narrative texts and challenging follow-up activities for independent work.

TES KS2 Resources


Amazon: ‘I bought this book as am a year 6 teacher and tried as a guided reading book at my previous school. The kids loved the story – not as they expected – and had loads of good conversations.’

Flaeriefloss: (Children’s librarian in Australia)
“This a very enjoyable book – Norriss writes with such humour and understanding of his young characters, and the story’s plot has touches of science-fiction, mystery, adventure and family drama.” more


The Portal by Andrew Norriss

Chapter 1

You tend to remember the day your parents disappear. It’s one of those things that stick in the mind. Even years later, William found he could recall not only the day and the date, but things like what shoes his mother had been wearing, and the headline in the newspaper his father had been reading at breakfast.

Most of that day had been perfectly normal. After breakfast, William and Daniel had gone to school as usual. At four o’clock, the bus had delivered them back to the bottom of the road, as usual. They had watched Mrs Duggan’s dog, Timber, collect Amy, as usual, then walked up the lane to the house, pushed their way in through the back door . . . and after that, nothing was ever normal again.

On a normal day, there would have been bread and butter set out on the kitchen table, and Mrs Seward would have been standing by the stove, putting two eggs into a saucepan to boil as she smiled a greeting and told Daniel not to leave his bag on the floor. Then Dad would have appeared from his office and asked how things were in the big wide world of school, while he filled the kettle and made the tea.

That was how it was supposed to be. That was how it had always been.

Until now.

‘Where are they?’ asked Daniel.

‘Maybe they’re working,’ said William, and he buzzed the intercom on the wall, which connected to Dad’s office at the other end of the house. But there was no reply. Which could either mean he was busy, or that he wasn’t there.

Daniel went out to the hall and pushed open the door to the dining room. Their mother’s plant books were spread out on the table – she was halfway through an Open University degree in botany – but there was no sign of Mrs Seward. The two of them went all through the house, calling for her, and then did the same outside, checking the barn and the outhouses before coming back to the kitchen.

‘Looks like they had to go out,’ said William, though without much conviction, because they both knew Mr and Mrs Seward never went out. Not together. They went out one at a time to the shops, or to take the boys to the cinema, but there was always one of them left in the house. There had to be, because of Dad’s work. It was why they never all went on holiday together. There always had to be someone in the house.

William looked round the kitchen to see if there was a note or anything that might explain what had happened, but there was nothing.

‘Are you going to ring the number?’ asked Daniel.

‘Not yet,’ said William. ‘We don’t know if it’s a real emergency.’

But two hours later, when there was still no sign of his parents, he gave in and picked up the phone.

To find out what happens next you’ll have to buy the book!

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (2 Aug 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 014132158X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141321585

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