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.