MrK0: An Ordinary Robot

story by Katie Furze , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention:  

I am learning to analyse strategies authors use to influence readers so that I can identify the ways different elements in a text contribute to characterisation. 

Success criteria: 

  • I can describe ways authors and illustrators influence readers’ perspectives on characters. 
  • I can identify points of repetition in text. 
  • I can describe how the author uses repetition for narrative purposes. 

Essential knowledge: 

Information about languages features in texts can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbol. 

After reading the story as a class, ask students to describe the character Mrk0. Answers may include robotic, trapped, caring, different, bored, brave, curious. Ask students what parts of the text tell them this. Students might identify: 

- vocabulary (such as the word ‘monotonous’) 

- character feelings (such as Mrk0 realising he was sad that the plant was destroyed) 

- character actions (such as Mrk0 trying to rescue the bird) 

- text features (such as italics to show Mrk0’s thoughts and bolded text to show specific words he was processing) 

- symbolism (the plant and the sky representing freedom; the broken wing of the bird representing Mrk0’s inability to escape) 

- the illustrations (which show Mrk0’s chest bar is a different colour to the other robots, marking him as different) 

Ask students to name one of the jobs Mrk0 ended up doing, and guide them towards the last illustration, which shows the robot helping a vet. Discuss what sort of character would help sick animals. 

Explain that another way the author used language to show character was repetition. Explain that this doesn’t always mean repeating a word or a phrase – it can also mean repeating an idea in different ways. In pairs, have students search through the text and highlight or take notes on places they find repetition. 

Sample answers include: 

  • Grip, twist, tighten 
  • Every shift was the same. Nothing ever changed. 
  • The bots worked quietly, without communicating. 
  • Seeing nothing… hearing nothing. 
  • Sometimes Mrk0 noticed the chill… Sometimes he wondered 
  • Jar after jar 

Students share their answers with the class. Ask when most of the repetition in the text happens (at the beginning and when Mrk0 returns to work as normal). Discuss as a class why the author chose to add a lot of repetition in these points of the story (to show the monotony of Mrk0’s life).  

Conclude by asking students to summarise either written or orally how the author and illustrator influenced readers’ perspective of Mrk0 (vocabulary, symbolism etc) and the narrative purpose of using repetition (to show the monotony of Mrk0’s life).