Lily Had a Little Llama

story by Kathryn England , illustrated by Aśka

Learning intention:

I am learning to use metalanguage so that I can describe the effects of ideas and text structures in literary texts.

Success criteria:

  • I can describe my response to a text using metalanguage.
  • I can explain how an author uses characterisation to shape response a text.
  • I can explain how an author uses plot structure to shape response a text.

Essential Knowledge:

  • More information about the roles of the composer and responder can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Authority.


After reading the story, ask students to consider their response – did they find it funny, absurd, boring, fascinating? Did they like the protagonist and the secondary characters? Did they like the setup and the ending? Give students time to discuss their response to the text with a partner.


Now have a class discussion about what students think the author was trying to make the reader feel. Ask what the purpose of the text was, and why the author wrote the story in the first place. Again, have students consider characters and plot when discussing their response.


Put students into groups of three or four and give one A3 page to each group. Groups draw a line down the middle of the page, with one side titled Character and the other side titled Plot. Display the following questions on the board for both character and plot. Groups write down their thoughts on the appropriate sides of their paper. Sample answers are at the bottom of the learning resource.



  • What are some adjectives to describe Jemma?
  • What are some things Jemma does to reveal her character?
  • Who are the secondary characters in the text?
  • Why do you think the author has chosen to have these types of characters?
  • How do these characters affect the overall tone of the story?



  • What is Jemma trying to do?
  • How does Jemma try to do it?
  • What happens through the story?
  • What stops the play?
  • How does the affect the tone of the story?
  • What is the resolution?
  • What do the secondary characters do at the end of the story?
  • How does this affect the tone of the story?
  • What has Jemma decided at the end of the story?
  • Why do you think the author chose this ending?


After a class discussion, write the following on the board:



In the story Lily Had a Little Llama, the character of Jemma is (blank). The author shows us this by (blank). The other characters are (blank), which makes the text (blank) because (blank).



Lily Had a Little Llama is about (blank). The end of the story is (blank), which is purposefully done by the author to make the reader feel (blank).


Students write paragraphs for character and plot using the above templates as an example. Explain that they don’t have to follow this format exactly, but it is there to guide them.


Sample answers:


Jemma is a bold, dramatic, confident character. The author shows us this by having her write and direct a play, make swift decisions about who will be in her play, not letting other characters tell her what to do, use a traffic cone as a megaphone, make the props herself and not letting setbacks get her down. The other characters in the story are fairy tale characters, which makes the text absurdist because it seems perfectly normal in the story that they are trying out for a school play.



Lily Had a Little Llama is a story about a girl called Jemma, who wants to put on a play for a talent show. She auditions a group of fairy tale characters and choses a cast, but a rejected candidate ruins their chance to perform by using copyright infringement threats, which gives the story an absurdist feel. The end of the story might have been disappointing, but the fairy tale characters are good sports about the situation and cheer the other contestants and Jemma has decided to do another play. The author chose this ending to make the reader feel uplifted.