Scooter for Sale

story by Steve Harris , illustrated by Cheryl Orsini

Learning intention:

I am learning about patterns in literary texts so that I can adapt them to create my own texts.

Success criteria:

  • I can identify and describe the effect of a twist ending.
  • I can brainstorm other ideas for twist endings.
  • I can write a narrative with a twist ending.

After reading Scooter for Sale, ask students what surprised them about the story. Students should recognise that the story made them think the narrator was selling a scooter until the end, where it was revealed that Scooter was Billy’s little brother.

Ask students to go through the story again to find phrases that could describe both a toy scooter and the child Scooter. Answers include:

I do love it and after having it for three years, it almost feels like part of the family.

Even though it is three years old, it manoeuvres around the floor very quickly.

It also gets brushed and wiped down several times each day, especially if food is spilt

on it.

Explain that the twist ending works so well because the first reading tricks the audience into thinking it’s talking about a toy scooter, but the second reading makes just as much sense once the reader realises it’s talking about the child Scooter.

Some other books to study that have twist endings include:

  • There’s a Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin
  • I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Explain that students will be writing their own short story with a twist ending – their narrator will be talking about a best friend, but the best friend turns out to be a dog. Remind students about how the information given in Scooter for Sale could work for both a toy scooter and the child Scooter, and how they might do the same thing for their own story. Some answers could be:

My best friend and I always go to the beach to play ball.

We share food, even though Mum says not to.

We race at the park, but she always wins.

Ask how the twist might be revealed at the end. Some students might suggest simply telling the reader that the best friend is a dog. Return to Scooter for Sale as an example of how to give the twist away more subtly. Students could write something like, “As I grab Sarah’s leash, I know I truly have the greatest friend anyone could ask for.” This way, they have indicated that Sarah is a dog without saying it outright.

Assessment as/of learning:

A marking rubric for imaginative texts can be found on The School Magazine website. Students can use this rubric to inform their writing, and it can be used for peer and teacher assessment.