Dandelion Wish

story by Jodi Toering , https://annabron.com/

Learning Intention:


I am learning to understand how descriptions help create mood in texts so that I can create moods in the texts I compose that match the feelings I wish to evoke.


Success Criteria:


  • I can identify language that helps to create the mood in a text.
  • I can identify the different moods in a story.
  • I can use language to express a mood.
  • I can consider how the mood of a text helps to support its theme.


Essential knowledge:


View the video Theme from The English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • The plot, characters, setting and language all help reveal the theme
  • The theme is the message of the text
  • The theme invites us to think about our own lives and what we value




Display the following descriptions:

  • The air pumped with energy
  • He hung his head and stared at the ground
  • Her fingers buzzed
  • The sound of children’s laughter floated on the air
  • Dark clouds loomed overhead
  • The sun shone brightly
  • Exhaustion pulled at her limbs
  • She looked longingly out of the window and thought of happier times


Inform students that each of these descriptions relate to one of the following moods:

  • Ecstatic
  • Morose

Ensure students understand the meanings of each of these words before sorting the descriptions to match the moods. Students should identify the following:


Descriptions that create the mood of excitement/feeling ecstatic include:

  • The air pumped with energy
  • Her fingers buzzed
  • The sound of children’s laughter floated on the air
  • The sun shone brightly


Descriptions that create the mood of morose include:

  • He hung his head and stared at the ground
  • Dark clouds loomed overhead
  • Exhaustion pulled at her limbs
  • She looked longingly out of the window and thought of happier times


Emphasise that the way authors describe settings and characters helps to create the mood and the feeling in a text.


Understanding text:


Read Dandelion Wish or listen to the audio version if you have a digital subscription. Reread the story, focusing on the first section, up to the end of page 13. Discuss descriptions of the setting and the characters in this section for example:

the darkening sky

she squeezed her eyes tight, then sent her silent hope toward the heavens

Ava’s big sister had no faith in wishes.

‘There is no such thing as a fairytale, Ava,’ Mim spoke bitterly.

Father slept more and ate less. Like a photograph in the sun, his colours faded.

scant harvest

Discuss the mood this setting evokes, ensuring students correctly identify that it is a morose/hopeless/sad mood.

View the accompanying illustration and discuss the elements in the image that also create this mood. For example:

  • The muted colours
  • The morose looking face of the father
  • The downcast facial expressions of the sisters

Provide students with copies of the story. Place students with a partner. Instruct them to reread the section up to towards the end of page 15. Tell them to pause reading two paragraphs before the end of this page, stopping at the paragraph that ends:

Laughing, he placed the necklace carefully over Ava’s head and said goodbye.

Instruct students to underline descriptions that reveal the mood. Discuss responses. Ensure students have underlined descriptions, such as:

…he plucked a dandelion, then presented it to her with a flourish.

The hawker smiled

…it’s not what we see that matters; it’s what we believe.’

watched the tiny seeds drift slowly upon the breeze, up and into the clear blue morning sky.

He produced a necklace, flashing silver; the very same colour as his eyes.

Hanging from the beautiful chain, in a perfect resin sphere, was a tiny dandelion seed, suspended. Frozen in time.

‘Some see a weed, child, but I see a wish.’


Those with a digital subscription can complete the interactive activity now.

Refer students to the illustrations on pages 14 and 15 and discuss elements in these that help to create the mood, for example:

  • The smiles on the characters’ faces
  • The lighter colours used
  • The use of yellow in the illustration on page 15, that makes the hawker appear to glow

Discuss the mood in this section, ensuring students note that it is hopeful and joyful.

Instruct students to reread the remainder of the story with their partner and to analyse the final illustration. Tell them to again underline descriptions that help create the mood before identifying the mood. Sample responses of which descriptions to underline in the story include:

In fury, Mim tore the chain from Ava’s neck and threw the necklace deep into the garden.

That night, Ava tiptoed under starlight, heartsick, hungry and ashamed.

The dandelion necklace gleamed in the weeds.

as watercolour dawn stole gently across the sky, Father sat up and called out, eyes clear and bright.

The hawker smiled knowingly.

… sunlight played in the empty resin sphere.

Elements students might identify in the illustration include:

  • The use of white on the moon that appears to make it glow
  • The contrast of deep blue for the remainder of the image that accentuates the glow of the moon

Ensure students identify that the mood in this section ranges from fear about the consequences of buying the necklace to joy and elation at the father recovering from his sickness. Emphasise that the feelings of joy and elation are portrayed in descriptions, such as the necklace gleaming in the weeds, the ‘watercolour dawn’ and the sunlight playing in the necklace.

Discuss students' ideas for the theme for the story. Sample responses include:

  • Never give up hope
  • Wishes can come true
  • Keep believing in magic

Discuss how the different moods of the story help support the theme. For example, the fact that hope is a recurring mood in the story, expressed through Eva hope that her father will get well despite it all seeming hopeless. Hope also plays a role in the mood when she purchases the necklaces and wishes for her father to return to health.

Creating text:


Inform students that they will be experimenting with using descriptions to create mood. Identify each of the characters in the story (Ava, Mim and Father). Select one of these and discuss events that might happen in the story that might conjure up a particular mood, for example, Ava joy at Father being well enough to leave the house or Mim feeling apprehension when Father leaves the house solo for the first time. Select one of these and discuss how you might create the mood by using descriptions, for example:

  • Brightly coloured flowers, birds tweeting and blazing sunshine to express joy
  • Heavy clouds, birds squawking loudly and damp air to express apprehension

Instruct students to work with the same partner as previously. Display the following list of steps for students to follow when composing their own descriptions that create a specific mood:

  • Select one of the characters from Dandelion Wish
  • Identify an event that could happen in the story
  • Select a mood you wish to create based on your chosen event
  • Compose descriptions that create that mood

Students should then include their descriptions in a brief paragraph that could be added to the story.

Assessment for/as learning:


Match pairs together and inform them that they will be using Thinking Hats to provide peer feedback on each other’s work. Instruct one student from each pair to wear a blue hat, using a blue coloured pencil or pen to underline things that have been done well in their peer’s work. Instruct the other students in each pair to wear a green hat, using a green coloured pencil or pen to note any suggestions where the work might be improved. Students may choose to edit their work based on their peers’ feedback if they wish to do so.

Instruct students to respond to the following exit ticket questions in their workbooks:

  • How can mood help support a theme in a story? (It supports the transition towards the characters learning the lesson of the theme)
  • How do characters’ emotions help express theme in a text? (Their emotions often match the moods in a story and their emotions develop as they learn the lesson of the theme)