Lenny's Not Lyin

story by Elizabeth Macintosh , illustrated by Greg Holfeld

Learning Intention:

I am learning to consider another character’s perspective in a text so that I can use dialogue to depict how they see events in the story.

Success Criteria:

  • I can explain how the character’s circumstances influence their perspective and the way they see events in the story.
  • I can use quotations marks accurately to signal dialogue and direct speech.
  • I can use dialogue to reveal the character’s perspective to the reader.

Essential Knowledge:

More information about how people view the world through different lenses can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Perspective.

More information about how the concept of perspective should be addressed in Stage 2 (including how context shapes a person’s view of the world) can be found on the English Teachers Association’s page on Perspective.

Read the text, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording. After reading, compile a list of the characters: Lenny, his brother and mum; the neighbours, Mrs Wallace, Mrs Patel and Mr Fellini; Lazarus the lion, and the female zookeeper.

Provide students with a simple definition of the term perspective: the lens in which we see the world. Everyone has a slightly different lens; therefore, no two people see the world the same way.

Explain that in this story each character has a very different perspective on the events and the world of the story. Complete a table summarising the human characters’ circumstances and how this impacts their perspective. Some sample answers are below:


Character Circumstance Perspective
Lenny High up in his apartment, can see into lots of backyards He can see the lion in the garden because he is standing above it
Mum In the bathroom with no window onto the garden; probably used to her children trying to get out of school Does not believe Lenny and thinks the lion is a joke or excuse
Mrs Wallace Hanging out washing in her garden, can’t see easily into different gardens Thinks that Lenny is lying and is another silly child playing mean tricks


After completing the perspectives table, explain to students that they will be writing conversations between characters to add into the story. These conversations should reveal the characters’ perspective on Lazarus and use quotation marks accurately to signal dialogue.

Ensure that students have a secure understanding of dialogue rules by revising the following points:

  • Each speaker gets a new line.
  • Each paragraph is indented.
  • Punctuation for the direct speech goes inside the quotation marks; for example, if the character is yelling, the exclamation mark goes inside the quotation marks.
  • Quotation marks are placed outside the direct speech and its punctuation. “Mrs Wallace, a lion is eating your bloomers!”
  • If using dialogue tags (she said/whispered/hollered, etc.) after the direct speech, then the dialogue tag goes outside the quotation marks, while the comma goes on the inside. “Mrs Wallace, a lion is eating your bloomers,” whispered Lenny.
  • If using dialogue tags before the direct speech, the comma goes before the quotation marks. Lenny hollered, “Mrs Wallace, a lion is eating your bloomers!”

You may like to reread the story as a class and annotate examples of dialogue rules. If you have a digital subscription, you can complete an activity which requires students to guess the speaker and add dialogue punctuation.

Ask students to compose a conversation between two characters in the story who have very different perspectives. Provide the following success criteria to scaffold student responses:

  • Uses dialogue rules consistently and accurately.
  • Uses a range of dialogue tags (you may wish to provide students with a Said Is Dead display).
  • Reveals aspects of the characters’ perspectives through direct speech (for example, what they can and can’t see).
  • Adds extra layers of detail into the story.