Elaine Forrestal

Teacher’s Notes for Miss Llewellyn-Jones

Before read­ing the book

Show the end­pa­pers. Dis­cuss the images you see. Why has the illus­tra­tor, Moira Court, decided to place them there?

Open the book at the title page. How many items of cloth­ing can you find in the basket?

Look closely at the 1st page of the book (the one with­out any words). What does this pic­ture tell you about Miss Llewellyn-Jones? Where does she live? What sort of per­son is she?

Read the book

Stop at the page where Miss Llewellyn-Jones hangs her Teddy out to dry. Close the book, but put a book­mark in that page.

What will hap­pen next?

Write your own story about Teddy.

  • Where does he go?
  • What does he see?
  • Who does he meet on his journey?
  • Does he get home safely?
  • If so, how and when?
  • If not, why not?

After you have writ­ten your own story
Open the book at the page you have marked and read on to the end.

What a clever Teddy!

How the story changed as Elaine and Moira worked on it.

From Elaine’s text and her first stick-figure draw­ings on a sto­ry­board Moira expanded the book, chang­ing the des­ti­na­tions of the pieces of wash­ing, enhanc­ing the land­scape and bring­ing the char­ac­ters to life.

One of the most dif­fi­cult things for any writer to do is to con­vince the reader that the char­ac­ters are real.

Right from the start of their col­lab­o­ra­tion, Moira believed in Elaine’s char­ac­ters. She saw both Miss Llewellyn-Jones and Teddy as real indi­vid­u­als with their own thoughts, feel­ings and per­son­al­i­ties. She became very excited when, after many months of work­ing on the pic­tures, she hap­pened to turn on the TV and there was a woman from a farm in Texas, USA, who was exactly like our Miss Llewellyn-Jones!

The biggest prob­lem came with the end­ing of the book.

Elaine had imag­ined Teddy sav­ing him­self from a bad fall by pulling on the string of a para­chute that he wore in a back­pack on his back. It wasn’t until Moira, with her illustrator’s eye, began to work on the book that it became clear that they needed a dif­fer­ent solu­tion to Teddy’s problem.

  • Why wouldn’t the para­chute idea work?
  • Would you be won­der­ing why Teddy was wear­ing a back­pack and what was inside it?
  • How would that change the story?
  • Can you think of any other way in which Teddy could have saved him­self from a nasty fall?

Re-visit

Go back and look closely at the pic­tures again.

Check out the bees, the crea­tures in the woods, the ani­mals on the neigh­bour­ing farm, the patch­work quilt of farm­lands and the dis­tinc­tive pine trees grow­ing near the beach.

Look for the ways in which Miss Llewellyn-Jones’s socks, knick­ers and apron echo the shapes and colours of her chooks.

Com­pare the tail feath­ers of the two birds in the scene where the T-shirt is fly­ing over the farm­lands with the socks in the next sequence of pictures.

Count the pieces of wash­ing each time the bas­ket appears in the pic­tures. What else is in there besides clothing?

Where is the first pic­ture in which we see Teddy wear­ing his bow tie?

How many times do we see the escaped umbrella fly­ing through the air before Teddy las­sos it and floats gen­tly down into Miss Llewellyn-Jones’s arms?

Make a list of the dif­fer­ent expres­sions on Miss Llewellyn-Jones’s face using one descrip­tive word for each expres­sion. How is she feel­ing at dif­fer­ent times in the story?

The final pic­ture in the story has been used as the front cover image. Does the back cover image appear any­where else in the book? Why wasn’t a pic­ture from the book repeated on the back cover?

Exten­sion

Indi­vid­u­ally or in groups develop a pic­ture book using the story you wrote about Teddy before you fin­ished read­ing Miss Llewellyn-Jones.

Cre­ate a felt board ver­sion of the story of Miss Llewellyn-Jones. Dis­cuss what will be essen­tial to the story and what will need to be left out.

Read your book or tell your felt board story to a younger child, a Kinder­garten or Pre Pri­mary class.