play by Jessica Fallico , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning intentions:

I am learning to use figurative language in a way that is relevant to characters in a text so that I can engage readers through comedic word play.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the purpose and effectiveness of the author’s use of figurative language in the text.
  • I can work with a group to create characters and brainstorm puns relevant to them.
  • I can collaboratively compose a script in a way that allows for puns to be incorporated in the dialogue between characters.
  • I can perform our play for the class in an engaging way.


Essential knowledge

Use the Australian Curriculum glossary to ensure students have an understanding of puns at the beginning of this lesson.


Discuss students’ understanding of puns and ensure they understand that puns are a figurative language technique that plays on the different meanings and sounds of words. Students may wish to share any puns that they know.

Assign roles and read through the play as a class. Ask students what puns they identified in the script and how each is a play on words. Answers may include:

  • ‘You look a little chilly, chilli’ (they are homophones and chilly means cold, while chillis are known to be hot)
  • There’s not mushroom in here (much room)
  • Now we’re in a pickle! (Pickle is a homonym, in this case meaning a difficult situation, but is also a preserved vegetable)
  • General Sprout: That’s enough Potato, let us solve this.

Romaine: Me? Why do I have to solve it? (‘let us’ sounds like lettuce, Romaine is a type of lettuce)


  • I know carrot-ay (karate)
  • I’m no eggs-pert, but I’d say this is the end.


Discuss the way these puns were incorporated into the conversation in the play and what the conversation is about (the vegetables trying to figure out where they’re being taken). Ask students to identify the way the author brought the conversation and story to an end (the vegetables arriving at the Easter Show to be on display) and the twist at the end (the vegetables thinking they were safe from being eaten because they were a display only to overhear a mum telling her child the vegetables will probably be eaten once the Easter Show has finished).

Explain to students that they will be working in groups to write their own short play to perform for the class, containing a conversation between characters that involves the use of puns. Like the box of vegetables, they should consider who their group of characters will be and how they can play on words related to that group. Suggestions for groups may include:

  • A group of shapes (e.g., I’m not listening to the circle, it’s pointless!)
  • A group of zoo animals (e.g., This is panda-monium!)
  • A plate of breakfast foods (e.g., The eggs are hard to beat!)

Once they have decided on this, they should create a situation for their characters to be dealing with in their story. For example, there may be someone new joining their group, there may be an event coming up that they’re preparing for, or they may be frightened by something unknown, just as the vegetables were when they were being transported.

To begin crafting puns, students may wish to research homophones or use a thesaurus to find synonyms, then write a list of those that can be best applied to the characters or situation in their play. Beyond the dialogue, students should also ensure their story has a conclusion and, if possible – a twist!

Once brainstorming has been done and scripts have been written, allow students some rehearsal time before class performances begin.