Hungry Bugs

comic serial by Tony Colley

Learning Intention: 

I am learning about the way comics use illustrations to give the reader a deeper understanding of the text so that I can use this method when creating visual texts.

Success Criteria: 

  • I can discuss the way the illustrations of a comic enhance the story for readers.
  • I can brainstorm my own ideas to match the illustrations of a comic.
  • I can rewrite the dialogue of the story to match the comic illustrations.

Focus question: 

How does the perspective the story is told from influence the way readers feel about the characters?

Understanding text:

Have students read the comic page to themselves, paying attention to the way the words and images fit together. Once they have finished reading, pose the following questions:

  • How does the first picture depict the bugs’ fear about getting eaten? (their facial expressions show wide eyes and open mouths, the fly has its feet up to its mouth, the moth is sweating)
  • How does the second picture show that their fear has increased (it is a close-up shot showing that they are close to each other’s faces and yelling ‘WE FORGOT ABOUT BATS!’ at the same time)
  • How does the fourth panel show a completely different perspective? (its perspective is much further away because it shows how small the bugs really are and depicts them staring at a much bigger fridge)
  • How do the bottom four panels show different emotions through the bugs’ facial expressions? (panel 1 - the moth’s wide eyes and smile show that it’s excited but the cockroach’s eyebrows and downturned mouth show worry or fear, panel 2 - the fly appears to have a more serious expression, showing a lack of concern, panel 3 - the cockroach looking down and to the side while it scratches its head shows confusion, panel 4 - its wide eyes and mouth along with the close up of its face and the lines around it show panic)

Discuss the way these illustrations enhance the story. Students should identify that while the words tell us what is happening and what the characters are saying, the illustrations show readers how the characters feel. In this case, the characters are trying to find food and realise there is plenty of it in the fridge, but they’re not strong enough to open the door.

Oral language:

Have students think pair and share to discuss other challenges that the bugs may face. Answers may include:

  • Being squashed or sprayed
  • Being eaten by small creatures such as lizards
  • Finding somewhere to lay their eggs
  • Being separated from their friends if they scurry in different direction when humans come in the room.

If you have a digital subscription, you can complete the interactive activity on perspective.

Creating text:

Inform students that their task is to write new dialogue to match the comic illustrations. To do this they should brainstorm their ideas about what else the bugs could be talking about and experiencing and write a rough draft of the words that would be written in each speech bubble. Once they have their draft complete, they should create the speech bubbles out of plain paper by cutting out shapes to match those in the comic panels, then writing their words in and sticking them over the top of the speech bubbles on the magazine page.

If you have copies of 2024’s previous issues of Countdown, students may choose a different version of Hungry Bugs to use. They should follow the same analysis of action and facial expressions shown in the illustration to base their ideas on.

Assessment as learning:  

Once students have completed their comic dialogue, have them share with their classmates by allowing them time to swap with different people and discuss their ideas. Students should then complete the Dig Deep exit slip to reflect on what they learnt from this activity.