Ocky's Silver Coconut

story by James Dick , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning Intention:

I am learning to analyse the impact on readers when authors write from a unique point of view so that I can compose engaging and entertaining stories.

Success Criteria:

  • I can discuss how writing from a unique point of view impacts readers.
  • I can consider the perspective of a character.
  • I can compose a text that presents a unique point of view.


Essential knowledge:

View the video from the English Textual Concepts, Understanding Narrative.

Discuss the structural elements of narratives, ensuring students note that they usually feature:

  • A character who is in pursuit of a goal, who encounters a problem
  • Events that create challenges for the character
  • A resolution where the character overcomes their problem


Oral language and communication:


Discuss stories told from the point of view of animals:


  • Finding Nemo
  • Dory
  • Animal Farm
  • Black Beauty
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • War Horse

Discuss how authors might write about animals’ perspectives when writing from their point of view.  For example, they might draw from their own experiences, consider how they might react or observe animals to see how they react to particular events.

Discuss the following questions:

  • Why might readers enjoy stories told from an animal’s point of view? Note: If students find this question challenging to respond to, instruct them to consider their own responses to stories about animals. (Answer: To obtain a new perspective, because they particularly like the type of animal the main character is)
  • How might telling stories from the point of view of animals impact the wider community? (It might improve empathy and compassion for animals, it may inspire conservation of animals)


Understanding text:

Read Ocky’s Silver Coconut or listen to the audio file. Discuss the following:


  • How does Ocky view humans? (As apes, he is amazed when ‘Sport’ helps him by pushing him into a coconut and putting him back in the oceans, as he believes humans are ‘terrible, terrible monsters’)
  • Why does Ocky view humans in this way? (As they pollute the waters, bleach the reefs, throw refuse into the sea, eat octopuses and steal the seashells coconut octopuses need for their homes, kill the fish, cause toxins to live on the skin of octopuses and stain the reefs with poison)
  • What insights can be gathered from Ocky’s perspective about what is happening to the oceans? (It raises the issues of human’s impact on the environment, drawing readers attention to the issue of how humans are damaging the oceans)
  • What impact does Ocky’s point of view have on readers? (It inspires us to take better care of the oceans and to take-action to prevent pollution)


Creating text:

Refer to the story and discuss the challenges Ocky faces:

  • He is washed ashore, and he is in danger of drying out.
  • His habitat is being destroyed
  • He becomes stuck inside a silver shell and has to decide whether to ask the non-octopus whether to get rid of the apes or not.

Inform students that they will be composing their own story from the point of view of a species of their choice. Tell them that the story should raise awareness about an environmental issue resulting from a change to their chosen species’ habitat. Gradually release responsibility by planning an example together.

Identify a species on the endangered list by viewing Endangered Species from National Geographic. Scroll down to identify species that are classified as endangered and select one from the list, for example the Siberian Sturgeon. Discuss how they are becoming endangered, due to overfishing, poaching, dam construction and pollution from mining. Instruct students to imagine how the animal might feel about these changes and how they might react. Sample responses include, heartbroken, forlorn, hopeful of change, overwhelmed.

Discuss how you might incorporate these ideas into a story, considering the structural elements of problem and resolution. Consider problems the species might face and how they might overcome them, for example they might put an end to overfishing when they make friends with a human who spreads the word about the damage that is being done. Collaboratively plan an idea, using dot points for the students to use if they are finding it challenging to generate ideas.

For example:

  • The Siberian sturgeon, named Sturgi, narrowly avoids being fished though most his friends and family members are caught
  • Alone and forlorn, he takes a risk and speaks to a human child
  • The child is horrified about what Sturgi has gone through and campaigns to stop overfishing
  • Sturgi makes new friends from the fish that has survived, and the species begins the thrive again

Instruct students to work with a partner or independently to plan a story from the point of view of an animal that is endangered and how they overcome a problem.


Assessment for/as learning:

Instruct students to respond to the following exit ticket question in their workbooks:

  • Why do authors write from unique points of view and what impact does this have on readers?