Rat Boy

part two of a two-part story by Wendy Graham , illustrated by Sylvia Morris

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify the key aspects of characters and narratives so that I can apply them to my own writing.

Success criteria:

• I can recall key points the author has used in the text to shape the story and characters
• I can use these points to create my own story
• I can write a narrative using a scenario, problem and resolution.

Essential knowledge:
To learn more about identifying the theme of a text through its characters, watch the English Textual Concepts video Theme.

After reading the story, discuss what themes are explored through Mr. Spoons’ role in the story (loneliness, kindness, friendship). Discuss the benefits of Mr. Spoons adopting Basil based on what readers know from the story. Answers should include:
• Basil gets to have a safe home with someone that will care for him and enjoy his company
• Mr. Spoons will have company and a pet to look after who is not big and noisy
• ‘Sonny Jim’ will be able to visit Basil and Mr. Spoons.

Ask students to recall what we know about Mr. Spoons from the text. Answers may include:
• He spends a lot of time waiting by his gate hoping to talk to someone
• He lives next door to ‘Sonny Jim’
• He is kind and gentle
• He is elderly
• He has equipment for small projects in his back shed.

Explain to students that they are going to expand on the text further by creating a story called ‘The Adventures of Basil and Mr. Spoons’. Discuss what kinds of things Basil and Mr. Spoons are likely to do together based on what is already known from the story and its themes. Explain to students that they should take this information and use their imaginations to expand on it.
This should include a scenario as well as a problem and solution. Model an example, such as:


Mr. Spoons is building a new letterbox to put on his front fence. He realises that he doesn’t have enough wood in his back shed, so he and Basil set off for the hardware store together.


While Mr. Spoons is looking through the different types of wood, Basil jumps from his shoulder and onto a shelf, where he scurries along frightening some of the customers. He makes his way to the gardening section and accidentally knocks over some spades, causing a big ruckus.


Luckily, ‘Sonny Jim’ is there to help Mr. Spoons find Basil and get him home safely.

Students should then create their own story plan by creating a mind map, list of bullet points or outline of their idea, similar to the one above. Once they have a clear idea of what their story will be, they can begin writing it.