The Bizarre Bazaar

poem by Neal Levin , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intentions:

I am learning to explore a variety of advertising methods that appeal to an audience so that I can strengthen my persuasive writing through my language and visual techniques.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify poetry techniques and how they engage an audience.
  • I can incorporate these techniques to enhance my own work.
  • I can collaboratively make decisions about effective advertising methods.
  • I can create an advertising campaign for the purpose of persuading a specific audience.


Essential knowledge:

For more information on using persuasive techniques, watch the English Textual Concepts video for Argument.

Prior to reading the text, discuss the different meanings of the words ‘bizarre’ and ‘bazaar’. Ensure students understand that:

  • ‘bizarre’ means unusual and unexpected
  • ‘bazaar’ is a marketplace.

Have students look at the illustration and analyse how this shows the reader an idea of a ‘bizarre bazaar’.

Read the text, or if you have a digital subscription you may wish to play the audio version for the class. Afterwards, ask students to identify some of the bizarre items from the bazaar. Answers may include:

  • Peacocks that lay golden eggs
  • A stegosaurus ankle bone
  • Bottles filled with shooting stars
  • Spiders with a dozen legs
  • One-hundred-year-old luncheon meat
  • A mummified Egyptian prince

Discuss the poetry techniques the author has used to make the text fun and engaging. These should include:

  • The homophones of ‘bizarre’ and ‘bazaar’ and ‘prince’ and ‘prints’
  • The alliteration of ‘oddball oddities’ and ‘ship that’s sailed the Seven Seas’
  • The repetition of ‘shrunken heads’ and ‘shrunken feet’
  • The assonance of ‘shredded cheddar’
  • The irony of ‘water that’s evaporated.’

Inform students that they will be taking on the role of marketplace marketing manager and will need to create an advertising campaign to attract shoppers to The Bizarre Bazaar.

Explain that an advertising campaign is a set of advertisements that are used to promote a product or service. Write a list of types of ads on the board, including:

  • Audio
  • Print
  • Digital
  • Video

Ask students where they have come across these ads before. Answers may include:

  • Social media
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Bus stops / train stations
  • Building or roadside billboards
  • Public transport
  • Newspapers / magazines

Students should work in groups to come up with three different types of ads (e.g., poster, radio ad, slideshow/video) to promote The Bizarre Bazaar. They should brainstorm as a group to consider who they are trying to attract to their marketplace (e.g., collectors, tycoons, hipsters) and how they can best appeal to them. They should incorporate lines and phrases from the poem for their ads (e.g., Are you a cheese lover? Then come down to the Bizarre Bazaar where we have a ton of shredded cheddar!). Have them also consider how the poetry techniques can support the advertisements. For example:

  • In a display ad, attention may be drawn to the alliteration from the poem by making the first letters of each word visually stand out.
  • In an audio ad, repetition may be emphasised to grab listeners’ attention.
  • In a video ad, the narrator may use their tone to highlight irony.

Students should create a simple plan for their ads by considering what may work best for each of the formats they have chosen and how they are going to create them. For example:

  • An Instagram reel that displays a variety of pictures of the bizarre products (explain that they may use sections of the magazine illustration, draw their own, or source online pictures that suit).
  • A radio ad that incorporates the poem as a jingle (they may also like to compose additional lines with their own bizarre items).
  • A video of a mock TV interview with a stall holder at the bazaar talking about the products they have for sale.

Once groups have a plan in place, they should work together to create their campaign using the necessary resources. If time allows, groups should present their advertising campaigns to the class and perhaps even vote on the most effective ad.