Maze of the Minotaur

story by Simon Cooke , illustrated by Greg Holfeld

Learning Intention:

I am learning to locate specific information in texts so that I can respond to questions that require literal and inferential answers.

Success Criteria:

  • I can locate specific information.
  • I can make inferences based on what I have read and my own perceptions.
  • I can analyse illustrations to see how they support the ideas in texts.


1st Reading:

Read the title: What do you predict the story will be about? Are you familiar with what a Minotaur is?


Read the story.


How do Luca and Antonia feel about the hero before he enters the maze? (They admire him and Luca longs to be the hero one day)

How does Luca act at the beginning of the story? (He is brave and full of confidence about overcoming the Minotaur)

Who is braver when the brothers are inside the maze, Luca or Antonio? (Antonio is braver. Luca is afraid of the Minotaur; he is hesitant, and he wants to leave the maze)

Who really is the Minotaur? (The duke, who dresses up to scare heroes)

What explanation do Antonio and Luca give for why the duke may wish to dress up as a Minotaur? (They think it is probably not much fun being a duke, with all the official business he must attend to, so they believe this is the duke’s one chance each year to have some fun)


2nd Reading:

The story is divided into sections using three stars.


What do these stars mean? (The change of a scene, when the story jumps time or changes location)

What type of genre is the story? How can you tell? (It is a mythical story, as it features elements such as a Minotaur, a mythical creature from Ancient Greece, and it is based on a challenge to fight the Minotaur)

What time period do you think the story is set in? What clues are there in the story? (In the past, for the following reasons:

The city is surrounded with gates that are locked at night, a duke runs the city rather than a democratically elected leader, the potential prize is in gold rather than money, the characters believe in a Minotaur, a mythical creature from Ancient Greek mythology)

How does setting the story in this time period support the genre of the story? (It makes it feel mythical, as though the Minotaur may be real)

The mood of the characters Luca and Antonio changes throughout the story. Identify the mood at the various points in the plot.

  • The beginning (Joyful, excited as Luca and Antonia wander through the city)
  • After Antonio is pick-pocketed (Hopeless, fearful of the guards)
  • When the brothers first enter the maze (Fear, tension, due to the moans and the dim light)
  • Once the boys realise the Minotaur is only a rouse created by the duke (Merry, jovial)

3rd Reading:

How do you think Antonio and Luca feel when they first arrive in the city?

Note, use the clues in the text and consider how you might feel if you were coming from the same context they are from.

(Antonio and Luca both live on a farm so the city would be an adventure of new sights and sounds. The farm must be far from the city as the characters left early in the morning and only arrive at the city at night, just before the gates are locked for the evening. It’s Luca’s first time in the city and both he and Antonia appear to be very excited to be there)

Character’s often grow and change their attitudes over the course of a story. How does Luca’s attitude and personality develop throughout the story? (He begins brave and bold, expressing a desire to fight the Minotaur, he is then fearful when he and Antonio enter the maze, all bravado gone, but he takes a risk and continues through the maze even though he is scared, which causes him to be elated at the end, with him keen to try the maze challenge for himself once he is old enough)

View the illustrations that accompany the story.

What colours have been used? (Mostly mustard yellow, blue or red for the background contrasting with black for the illustrations)

Why do you think the illustrator chose these colours? (The use of a limited palette of colours serves a number of functions. It helps create the mood as eerie and as being from another world that is not quite real, it focuses readers attention solely on the sketches, it adds mystery and intrigue, and it makes the illustrations unique)

Why does the author include the following statement from Antonio early in the story:

‘Fear is all in the mind. Conquer the fear, and half the battle is won.’

(To provide the reader with the clue that the identity of Minotaur might not be as it seems, to show readers that they can do anything they set their minds to)

Stories often teach us a lesson or provide ideas on how best to live our lives. What are some of the themes of this story? (To take chances, to not fear the unknown)

General follow up:

How do you know this?

What evidence do you have to support that?

Why do you think this?

What examples can you find in the text?