The Wrong Spoon

story by Sophie Masson , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning intention 

I am learning to investigate choices characters make so I can gain a deeper understanding of how authors create story tension.  

Success criteria  

  • I can identify choices a character makes.  
  • I can discuss what choices they should make and what they are likely to do.  
  • I can compose a letter providing advice to a character.  


Read the first paragraph of The Wrong Spoon. Discuss the instruction Dr Bee gives Clara (to ensure she uses the right spoon for each sauce). Display the following questions and discuss:  

  • What should Clara do? (Follow Dr Bee’s direction) 
  • What would you do if you were in Clara’s situation? (Do as Dr Bee asks) 
  • What do you predict Clara will do? (Steer students towards concluding that as this is a story it is quite likely Clara will make the wrong decision) 
  • Are you keen to keep reading and why? (Yes, to find out what Clara does) 

Inform students that if they are keen to keep reading this is most likely due to the story tension the author has created, which makes readers keen to know whether Clara follows Dr Bee’s instructions or not.  

Continue reading to the end of page 14. Discuss information in the story that emphasises how important it is that Clara makes the right decision (the fact that one of the sauces, the super-duper honeycomb caramel sauce, will be served with the biggest and best pudding at the mayor’s party and the fact that this is the first time Clara has been left in charge of the sauces). Inform students that these are called the stakes, the elements of the story that add pressure to the choices character’s make.  

Read to the end of page 15 and discuss the next element of tension (the moment when Clara drops the spoon for stirring the extra special sauce and it skids under one of the cupboards).  

Read up to the end of the second last paragraph on page 16. Avoid reading the final paragraph on page 16 for now. Discuss the choice Clara faces when she discovers the battered old metal spoon (whether to use it to stir the sauce or not). Refer students to the displayed questions from earlier and discuss them in relation to this choice. Sample responses are:  

  • What should Clara do? (Leave the battered old spoon and continue searching for the spoon to stir the special sauce with) 
  • What would you do if you were in Clara’s situation? (Forget about the battered old spoon and continue completing the tasks in the way Dr Bee instructed) 
  • What do you predict Clara will do? (Again, steer students towards concluding that as this is a story it is quite likely Clara will make the wrong decision) 

Read to the end of the page and discuss what consequences there might be for Clara’s actions. Sample responses include:  

  • Using the spoon will spoil the sauce.  
  • Dr Bee will know Clara didn’t do as he asked.  
  • The pudding will be ruined.  


Read page 18 and discuss the decision Clara makes (to go in search of Dr Bee, the pot in hot pursuit). Discuss the pros and cons of this decision by considering the displayed discussion questions. Sample answers are:  

  • What should Clara do? (Be honest and tell Dr Bee what has happened) 
  • What would you do if you were in Clara’s situation? (I might be scared I would get in trouble if Dr Bee found out so I would try to fix the situation on my own) 
  • What do you predict Clara will do? (Confess all to Dr Bee) 


Inform students that they are going to offer Clara advice before she makes one of the decisions that turns out badly in the story. Discuss people students talk to when they are faced with a difficult decision, for example, trusted people such as family members, teachers or friends. Remind students of the key decisions Clara makes in the story:  

  • To follow Dr Bee’s instructions by only using the correct spoon for each sauce or not 
  • Whether to leave the battered old spoon on the hook and ignore it 
  • To come clean with Dr Bee about what has happened or not 


Select one of the decisions Clara makes in the story, for example, whether to use the battered old metal spoon. Tell students they will be offering Clara advice about what she should do in a letter. Gradually release responsibility by composing an example together first before students work independently. Collaboratively compose a brief letter to Clara from a trusted family member or friend advising her of what decision she should make. Briefly discuss how to begin and end a letter, with a greeting and a sign off. A sample letter is:  

Dearest Clara,  

You need to remember what Dr Bee told you, only use the correct spoons to stir each of the sauces. You have no idea what using this battered old spoon might do to the sauce. It’s too important to take the risk. Just imagine what would happen at the mayor’s party if there isn’t any super-duper honeycomb caramel sauce to be served with the biggest and best pudding. Leave the battered old spoon, search for the right spoon and carry on following the instructions Dr Bee gave.  

You’re a smart person and you know the right thing to do, so do it.  

Kindest regards,  

Great-aunt Maud 


Discuss how likely it is that Clara will follow this advice (unlikely) and why (making bad decisions creates tension in the story).  


Instruct students to compose their own letters by completing the following:  

  • Select a decision Clara makes in the story 
  • Consider advice a trusted person may give her about the choice  
  • Compose a letter in character as a trusted person giving Clara advice  


Assessment as/of learning:  

Allow time for students to compose their letters before instructing them to share them with another student.  

Use the list of instructions to form criteria for students to assess the work of their peers. Instruct the students to use the two stars and a wish strategy to provide each other with feedback.  

Effective Feedback from the NSW Department of Education has more information on different types of feedback.