Hundreds and Hundreds of Octopi

story by Jenny Robson , illustrated by David Legge

Learning intentions: 

I am learning to explain how setting is used in texts so that I can describe how it is used to influence the mood of a narrative. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can identify setting description. 
  • I can explain how descriptive language for settings can create different moods in texts. 


Read Hundreds and Hundreds of Octopi as a class or listen to the audio recording. Once complete, read the first two paragraphs again, stopping at “with his eight legs”. 


Instruct students to draw this landscape (without the animals) using details from the text. Students should include bright long grass, a sparkling sea, a bright sun, sand, a bush and a river in their drawings. 


When finished, have students hold up their drawings for everyone to see. Explain that the time and place of a story is called the setting, and that authors select language carefully to give the text a certain mood. Ask students to consider what kind of mood this setting has given the narrative. Students might consider the mood calm, happy or peaceful. Have students find words from the first three paragraphs that provide evidence for their answers. Suggested words are: clean, sweet, bright, sparkled, shone. Explain that even the actions of the animals (the verbs) give a gentle tone: fluffed, lapped, glided. 


Ask students to find a setting in the text that gives the opposite mood and do the same thing – draw a picture based on the words, explain the mood and find specific words that provide evidence for their answers. 


Students may choose the text: 


Clouds rolled across the sky. The earth grew dark. Lightning flashed and thunder growled across the sea. In a moment, the animals had disappeared. The land at the bottom of the mountain was empty and quiet. 


This has an angry mood coupled with sadness and emptiness. Words to suggest this mood are dark, growled, empty and quiet. 


They may also choose the text: 


So much noise was coming from the sea. It bubbled wildly, like water over a hot fire! 


Wildly and hot fire suggest an angry mood. 


When complete, students share their drawings and answers with a partner. Select some students to share their answers with the class.