In Camelgrot

story by Bill Condon , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning intentions:

I am learning to identify and interpret the use of word play in narratives so that I can experiment with it in my own writing.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify a variety of wordplay examples in a text
  • I can write my own scene for an existing text
  • I can use wordplay humour in my writing


If possible, borrow some books from your school library prior to this lesson to provide students with background information to relate to the story and understand its intertextual references. Age appropriate fiction that would be of benefit include Camelot by Colin Thompson or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table by Sasha Morton, or relevant non-fiction books may be found in the 398.2 (folk tales, fairy tales and fables) section of your library. Otherwise, background information can be found on Britannica Kids – Kind Arthur. More information about intertextuality can be found in the English textual Concepts video Intertextuality.

Discuss students’ familiarity with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Explain that the traditional story takes place in the court Of Camelot and that knights hold the title of ‘Sir’.

Discuss the concept of wordplay, giving general examples such as puns (e.g. the cheetah was in a spot of bother), rhymes (e.g. Llama drama) and irony (e.g. A large bulldog being named Tiny). Ask students to make a note of each example of wordplay they notice in the text as they are reading along. After reading the story, ask students to give their answers on word play that they noticed throughout it.

Examples may include:

  • The use of Camelgrot instead of Camelot
  • The rhyming names of King Arthur and Queen Martha
  • The names of the knights – Sir Prised (surprised), Sir Rounded (surrounded), Sir Loin (sirloin) and Sir Cumference (circumference)
  • The irony of the big fiery dragon being called Fluffy
  • Ernesto Presto – the rhyming of the name and the association of presto with magic (Hey presto!)

Discuss students’ opinions about the ways this wordplay makes the writing more interesting and humorous, and how this suits the comedic style of the story. Instruct students that they are to create their own character for the ‘In Camelgrot’ story and write a scene that includes their new character. This may be a continuation from the ending in the text that sees Bertie become Sir Whataclot, or they may take the story in a different direction of their choosing.

Remind students that the tone should be light and humorous and their character’s name should include wordplay in some form.