Bad Luck Benny

story by Taylah Needham , illustrated by Cheryl Orsini

Learning Intention:

I am learning to identify the point of view in the text so that I can explore alternative points of view.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify the point of view in a text
  • I can identify other character actions in a text
  • I can present possible motivations for secondary characters, keeping in mind that their actions are seen from the narrator’s point of view


After reading the story, ask students whose point of view the story is being told from. Once students have identified Benny the black cat as the narrator, ask what other characters are in the story. Answers include the other alley cats, the stray dog and Lucy. Explain that each character has their own reasons for their actions and their own story to tell. Students are to get a point of view worksheet each. Project the worksheet on the board or draw a three-by-three table on the board to scaffold the activity.


Model finding the part about the stray dog in the story and read it aloud, starting with ‘a growling stray dog’ up to ‘dashes past me and disappears’. Talk aloud about the fact the dog was growling at the girl, it saw the black cat and ran away. Fill out the box under what the stray dog did on the projected worksheet for students to copy, then talk through the next part. Say something like:


“The dog is described as big and mean, but we have to remember this is from

Benny’s point of view. A lot of dogs probably look big and mean to a cat. And

it was growling, but why? Had it come across the girl shivering, or did it chase

her there? Maybe it was just hungry – it was a stray after all. It ran from the

cat, so it couldn’t have been that vicious. Even though there are a lot of

reasons for the dog’s actions, this is what I’m going to decide based on what I

know about dogs and from the story.”

In the box about possible reasons for the dog’s actions, write something along the lines of it having been a stray for many months and trying to tell the girl it was hungry. Students to copy on their own worksheets.


Ask students to find the actions of the alley cats in the story. Students should identify that the cats call Benny ‘Bad Luck Benny’ and that they chase him away. Ask students why the cats might do this. Allow them time to brainstorm or discuss before guiding them to the line ‘They say I scare away the humans and stop them from giving out more free food.’ Remind students the alley cats are also strays who don’t get food very often. Ask how frustrating it might be for the cats to finally find someone who’s willing to feed them, only for that person to leave at the sight of the black cat, taking the food away. As a class, decide on the best wording for the box under reasons for the actions of the stray cats.


Explain that students are to do the activity again, this time for Lucy. Ask them to think about why she was in the alley crying in the first place. They can produce their own reasons, as long as it doesn’t contradict the information given in the story. Ask why she might have decided to bring a stray black cat home, and why she let him stay. Students may decide that she is lonely and doesn’t have any friends, or that she’s grateful and wants to thank the cat, or they may come up with their own reasons.


Once complete, students share their answers with a partner. Select a few students to share with the class.