Bradley Takes Off

story by Bill Condon , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning Intention:

I am exploring the features of a narrative and comparing the style and purpose of texts so that I can present an opinion in a written review.


Success Criteria:

  • I can identify key features of a narrative including narrator, mood/tone, characterisation and language devices
  • I can compare the tone/mood in different texts
  • I can form an opinion about a text, and support my opinion with textual evidence
  • I can write a review


Essential knowledge:

For more information on the textual concept ‘Style’ view the Understanding style video.


Understanding text:

Read the story as a class, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the recording.

Before exploring the text in detail, engage students in a class discussion using the following prompts:

  • Who is the narrator? (Bradley D Mented – he is going to use The Slingshot to launch into outer space. He seems to be a TV host)
  • Is this a serious or a funny text? How do you know? (It is a humorous text, there are lots of puns and the scenario and characters are ridiculous)
  • What exactly is happening, who is the audience within the story? (It is the audio transcript of a live television stunt).
  • What did you think about the story? What did you like? What was unusual? What was surprising? Was there anything you didn’t enjoy? (Students will offer a range of ideas here – encourage all opinions and thoughts as the lesson is about giving personal opinions and reviews of texts. Each time a student offers an idea, make sure they also explain why they felt that way).


Look closely at the following extract from page 16.

Let me be clear, when I say Outer Space, I don’t mean a little bit out. I mean seriously OUT! Think galaxies, comets, asteroids, meteors, and even bigger stars than me—if that’s possible! As you can see, I’m sitting in the rocket right now, with my trusty co-pilot, Lookmum Nohanz, behind me. In just a few moments we’ll blast off, but before that, I have online Professor C.R. Ackpot, the genius inventor who has given me the honour of flying his amazing rocket ship, The Slingshot!


Ask students to underline the names of the two minor characters. Ask them to discuss the following questions with the person next to them:

  • Why have these names been chosen? (These names add comedic value to the text. They engage the reader)
  • What is the name of the language technique? (pun)
  • How would you describe the mood or feeling of this story? Choose a sentence from this extract as an example. (Dramatic, over the top, jovial)


Compare the character names in the story ‘Eione.’ Read the opening two paragraphs on page 22. As a class, create a list of character names on the board. (Yia Yia Thalia, Christina, Zach). Explain to the class that Yia Yia means grandmother in Greek. Ask students:

  • What kind of mood or tone would you expect from this story, based on the characters introduced in the beginning? (A more serious story, the names chosen show that this story is more likely to be set in the real world – a world more familiar to the class than Bradley’s world of pun names and spacecraft made from rubber bands).


Take a look at the following extract taken from the story ‘Finding El Dogado’ on page 4.

‘SEE, FELLOW PIRATES,’ woofed the captain. ‘We’ve made it. El Dogado, dead ahead. Now you’ll have to believe me.’

All the officers of spaceship Wild Rover were gathered around the captain as he gazed at a huge screen showing a hazy planet, streaked with white and blue. ‘Looks like Earth,’ muttered First Officer Dasher.’


Ask students to complete a Think, pair share activity where they answer the following prompt:

  • Explain the difference in tone/mood of the opening of ‘Finding El Dogado’ compared with the tone/mood of the opening of ‘Bradley Takes Off.’


When the class is up to the ‘Share’ part of the activity challenge them to think about why there is a difference in tone. (Students may suggest that ‘Finding El Dogado’ has a more serious tone. Some may notice that both texts are to do with space. The reasons behind the difference is related to the audience and purpose of the story. In Bradley takes off, there is a television audience within the story who are looking for entertainment.)



If you have a digital subscription, complete the Fact or Opinion interactive before moving on to the next activity.


Looking at the opening extracts of all three stories from this issue of Orbit, ask students to raise their hand and vote for the one that is most appealing to them, the one that draws their attention the most. You may like to do a ‘confidential vote’ where you ask the class to put their heads down and then raise their hands when the name of the story is called.

Tally the votes on the board.

Engage students in a class discussion on why different people voted for different stories. Talk about why some aspects of one text will appeal to one person but not another. (This should bring up conversations around personal preferences in literature but also may lead to further discussion about why different people prefer different genres in books or TV, school subjects, sports teams, after school activities etc.)


Creating text:

Have students stand in the centre of the room. Explain that one wall of the classroom is ‘yes’ the opposite wall is ‘no’ and the middle section is ‘I’m not sure.”

Ask the class the following question:

  • Did you like the story ‘Bradley Takes Off?’


Once students have moved to the location that represents their answer, ask them to find a partner with the same answer and talk about why. Encourage students to use specific examples and refer to some of the features of the text explored earlier in the lesson.


Ask a new question to the students:

  • Did you prefer the style of one of the other stories discussed earlier (‘Eione’, or ‘Finding El Dogado’).


Once students have moved to the location that represents their answer, ask them to find a partner with the same answer and talk about why. Encourage students to use specific examples and refer to some of the features of the texts explored earlier in the lesson.


Have students return to their seats. Tell them that they will be giving their opinion of the story ‘Bradley takes off’ in a book review. In the book review, students are to include:

  • A short introduction to the story
  • A description of at least two stylistic features
  • An opinion about the text (what they liked, what they didn’t enjoy)
  • A recommendation of who might like this story
  • A rating out of 5 stars


Assessment for/as learning:

Have students swap their work with a partner. They are to complete a peer assessment using the checklist below:

  • My partner’s opinion about the text was clear
  • My partner gave reasons to support their opinion
  • My partner used evidence from the text
  • My partner compared the text with another
  • My partner gave a rating out of 5 stars