poem by Jenny Blackford , illustrated by Anna Bron

Success Criteria:

I understand the term juxtaposition and can explain its usage in a specific text and illustration in my own words.

I can use my knowledge of juxtaposition in my own creative writing.

Experiment with juxtaposition in short texts and images.

Read the poem to the class and ask the following questions:

How does the cat change in this poem? (From agitated and alert, to relaxed and sleepy.)

What are the two phrases used to describe the cat’s moods? (Banshee cat and furry purr factory.)

Which images correspond to which mood? (The two images in the bottom left show the cat relaxed, the remaining three images show the cat agitated.)

Provide students with the example of juxtaposition, taken from the NESA Curriculum Glossary:

The placement of two or more ideas, characters, actions, settings, phrases or words side-by-side for a particular purpose, for example to highlight contrast or for rhetorical effect.

Discuss how juxtaposition has been used in this poem. Acknowledge responses that address: the brevity of the poem, allowing us to quickly contrast the cat’s changing mood; the use of a new single line stanza at the poem’s conclusion, which further emphasises a mood change; the sequence of images which offers a visual contrast in the change of mood.

As a class, brainstorm a list of animals and people who have sudden mood changes. Identify the types of moods that they switch between. Suggestions include:

Toddlers: from playful to having a tantrum

Teenage brothers/sisters: from sleepy to extremely hungry

A pet dog: from sleepy to extremely excited to see its owner.

Instruct students to write a short poem that juxtaposes the moods of their chosen animal or person. You can extend students by challenging them to find a metaphor to describe both moods, such as ‘banshee cat’ and ‘furry purr factory’. For example:

My sister, the sloth

who lays in bed

cocooned in a doona

rolls over with wild eyes, screeching

‘Mum! What’s for breakfast?’

Finally, students should draw at least two illustrations that juxtapose the two moods of their character. For example, to illustrate the poem (above) the first image could show a ball on a bed with zzzz floating above it. The second image could show a girl with wild eyes with food in a thought bubble.