Teacher’s notes for Miss Llewellyn-Jones Goes to Town

Before reading the book

Look at the cover. Read the title. What will this story be about?

Compare the covers of Miss Llewellyn-Jones (Fremantle Press 2008) and Miss Llewellyn-Jones Goes to Town. Would you have recognised Miss Llewellyn-Jones? Why is she dressed so differently? Discuss what sort of clothes you and your classmates wear for:

  • going out
  • going to school
  • playing at a friend’s house
  • going swimming.

Show the endpapers at the beginning of the book. Why has the illustrator, Moira Court, chosen to make this image the first one you see? Why has she shown only one of the girl’s legs? Compare the colours she has used for the front endpapers with those used for the back endpapers. Are they the same?

At the bottom of the Library Information page (opposite the Title page) there is a small picture of two black and white birds. These are not magpies, but they are a very common West Australian bird. Can you guess what they might be called by looking carefully at what they are eating?

Read the book

Stop at the double-page spread in the middle of the book (pp14 & 15). Lots of things are happening on these two pages. Make a class list of ideas about:

  • who the people are
  • where they are going
  • where the sausages came from
  • who owns the dog
  • what will happen next?

Now read on to the end

How does Miss Llewellyn-Jones feel when she can’t find Teddy? Which pictures give you the clues and what is it about those pictures that show you how she feels? Her facial expression? Her body language? The colours that Moira Court has used in the picture?

While Teddy is standing on the post box looking for Miss Llewellyn-Jones, where is the little girl who owns the horse?

Write your own story using the girl as your main character. Think about:

  • giving her a name,
  • giving her mother a name.
  • Decide who the dog belongs to.
  • Tell how the girl feels about losing her horse?
  • Does she get it back?
  • How?


The picture on page 3 is very similar to one of the other pictures in the book.

Which one?

How many differences can you find?

When Miss Llewellyn-Jones rides into the town she goes past at least one shop without buying anything.

  • What sort of shop is it?
  • Apart from the ones that Miss Llewellyn-Jones visits, what other sorts of shops might there be in the town?

On p18 there is a shadow in the doorway behind Miss Llewellyn-Jones. Whose shadow is it?

Compare this shadow with the silhouette on p11.


Here are the first two lines of a well known Nursery Rhyme. Can you finish it off?

Rub-a-dub-dub three men in a tub

And who do you think they be …

Do any of the characters you have named appear in Miss Llewellyn-Jones goes to Town?

Think of another Nursery Rhyme – one you are familiar with – and write your own story based on the characters and events in that rhyme.

Search out a cumquat tree. Carry out your own cumquat juice experiments.

  • How many cumquats does it take to make a glass of cumquat juice?
  • How long does it take to fill a standard water glass.
  • How long does it take to fill a medicine glass?

How the story changed

Unlike their previous book, Miss Llewellyn-Jones, in which both the story and pictures changed a lot during the collaborative process, the pictures in Miss Llewellyn-Jones Goes to Town changed very little. That may have been because, having done the first book together, Moira and Elaine had got to know and to trust each other. Elaine was conscious of leaving gaps in the text to allow Moira’s pictures to move the action forward and to show the emotions of the characters at different points in the story.

What did change quite significantly was Elaine’s original text. She and Cate Sutherland (children’s publisher at Fremantle Press) worked on ‘making the words sing’, rather than simply telling the story.

Here is the first draft of Miss Llewellyn-Jones Goes to Town. Compare this draft with the finished book.

  • What sort of changes have been made?
  • What effect have these changes had on the story?
  • Are there other changes you would have made if this had been your story?

Miss Llewellyn-Jones Goes to Town
© Elaine Forrestal 2008

Miss Llewellyn-Jones rode her bicycle to town
Up hill, up hill, up hill and …
D o o o o w n

From the butcher she bought sausages.

From the baker she bought bread.

From the candy-cake maker she bought a lollipop instead.

In the fruit shop there were persimmons and passionfruit,
gooseberries – but no goose.
Miss Llewellyn-Jones was taking quite some time to choose.

Her basket was bulging.
Teddy was bored.
There were places in the town just waiting to be explored.

This is where we see Teddy struggling out of the basket to go exploring while ML-J’s back is turned. But things do not go exactly as planned. A cat rolls him like a ball. A dog picks him up and runs with him. The owner of the Teddy Bear Shop finds him in the doorway, picks him up and puts him on the shelf – with a price tag! Meanwhile, ML-J is about to set off for home when she realises that Teddy is missing!)

Miss Llewellyn-Jones made a frantic search,

Up hill, up hill, up hill and …

D o o o o w n

We see ML-J, on foot, waving her arms and showing Teddy’s size and shape to everyone on the street.

He wasn’t in the mince.

He wasn’t in the dough.

He wasn’t in the birthday cake – fresh-wrapped and ready to go.

Meanwhile Teddy, with his usual resourcefulness, has managed to tumble off the shelf and hitch a ride in the basket of a passing customer who walks out onto the street just as ML-J is describing him to the local policeman.  A joyful reunion takes place.

Miss Llewellyn-Jones rode her bicycle back home
Up hill, up hill, up hill and …
D o o o o w n

Perhaps the final picture could show ML-J exhausted and Teddy now wearing some form of ID?

NB. The words in italics are just suggestions Elaine made for Moira to think about, knowing that Moira would come up with her own good ideas as she worked on the pictures.