Toad Rage Morris Gleitzman




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Toad Rage

Morris Gleitzman


Synopsis

Limpy has had it!

He has watched, for long enough, his family and friends get run over and squashed by humans. An accident or two he could understand, but this deliberate murder is going too far!

It is time for cane toads to be given a fair go and he is just the toad to do it!

As preparations for the Olympics speed up, Limpy heads to Sydney in an attempt to have cane toads included as official mascots. Perhaps if soft, cuddly, cane toad toys were available, humans would stop their cruel and heartless extermination and cane toads would be able to live in peace and security.

Text Type

No one, it appears, really likes cane toads, but this is no reason for them to become road bait. This novel is a tale of survival and conservation. Through Limpy, the reader experiences the thoughts and emotions of a young cane toad as he battles the odds, trying to save his species.

Morris Gleitzman has developed a true hero in Limpy. He faces and overcomes incredible odds, hostility and the continual threat of death as he steadfastly preservers in his quest.

The novel is easy to read and well paced. In true Gleitzman fashion, his humour and sense of the ridiculous ensure the reader enjoys a really good read.



Sharing the Novel

This novel can be shared over five shared sessions and four independent reading sessions.

Shared sessions begin with students sharing their feeling and thoughts about what they are reading. New ideas and questions can be shared and opportunities presented to gain further knowledge from personal and group activities. Shared sessions should be stimulating, encouraging students to take an active part in discussions.

Rereading and quotations should be encouraged to back up explanations and substantiate ideas.

Themes such as facing adversity, perseverance, fear, courage, friendship and family are covered, all from the perspective of a little cane toad with a huge mission.

Sharing Session 1 – before reading the novel





  • Investigate Morris Gleitzman. Information may be found in books or from the Internet. Sites such as http://www.scholastic.com.au/profiles/index.asp would be a good source of information. Make a list of the other novels Morris Gleitzman has written. Discuss his writing. What are the characteristics of a Gleitzman novel? What expectations do you have about his work?

  • Examine the cover illustration and the blurb. What information can you gather? What predictions can you make about this novel?

  • What do you know about cane toads? Brainstorm the group’s knowledge about cane toads and other toads. Each student is to list three key questions. Investigate these animals and prepare a presentation for the group on your investigations. Where could you gather your information? Beside books and the Internet, where else could you find information? Make a list as reference for the group.

Teacher to read to the end of chapter 1 to introduce the characters and set the scene. Students to read along in their own books.




  • Where is this novel set? What information is given about this setting? Why are the cane toads in such danger in this location? What advice would you give them at this stage? What alternatives would you offer them?

  • What is Limpy’s position in the family hierarchy? How does his uncle treat him? What is his response to this treatment? How does Limpy demonstrate his family love and loyalty? Refer back to the text for evidence.

  • Identify the main information given in this first chapter. Using the main idea as a heading organise the supporting information under each heading. E.g. Limpy is a cane toad. He has warts. He eats…….

  • Survey the groups’ reaction to cane toads at this time and with the information they have gathered from their reading and the novel so far. Keep this survey to refer back to at the conclusion of the novel.


Students read to the end of Chapter 7 independently to see what actions Limpy takes to try and save his family.

Sharing Session 2




  • Discuss what has happened to Limpy so far.

  • Describe the series of events that occur after one of Limpy’s relations is killed. Why does he do this? What do his parents think of his actions? What effect has the deaths had on Limpy and his thinking? How does his thinking differ to that of his parents?

  • Why does Limpy react so strongly when told Goliath is looking after Charm? How would you describe Goliath? Refer to the text for support.

  • How do you think Limpy felt when he saw the families at the petrol station? Why did he feel this way? What had given him reason to hope? Why did the people react as they did? Refer to your research to substantiate your response.

  • Limpy has taken some underpants with him when he left the caravan. Why? What do you think he is planning to do with them? How well do you think this plan will work?

  • What important information have you learnt about Limpy? Add any new information about cane toads to your research.


Students read to the end of Chapter 15 to see what happens to Limpy during his encounters with humans.

Sharing Session 3

  • Discuss the events that have occurred.

  • What are some of the reasons for choosing the platypus, echidna and kookaburra as games mascots? What other Australian animals do you think should have been considered? Survey the group to determine the preferred option if there was only one games’ mascot.

  • Describe in your own words Limpy’s adventures on the truck or with the teenagers. Imagine you are Limpy and retell them from his point of view.

  • What are the similarities and differences between Limpy and Goliath? Design a Venn diagram to compare and contrast these two characters.

  • How realistic do you consider Goliath’s adventure to be? Which events could have happened and which would have been impossible? How has the author incorporated the unlikely events into the novel? Have they worked? Why?

  • Why has the author brought Goliath back into the story? What influence will he have on the rest of the story? Justify your reply.

  • In what sport does the girl in the in the sports singlet compete? What do you know about this event? Why do you think she appears to like Limpy? Where do you think she is taking the cane toads? Why? How does Limpy feel about this?

  • Identify the problems faced by the main characters Limpy, Goliath and the girl. What advise would you give to the main characters at this point to help them overcome their problems? Explain why your advice is good advice. Refer back to the novel.

  • Where has the truck taken Limpy and Goliath? How do you know? Refer to the text to justify your response.

  • What are the plot possibilities now? What do you think could happen next?


Students read to the end of Chapter 22 to predict the next events in the novel.

Shared Session 4





  • Discuss if the predictions were correct.

  • Limpy tries so had to communicate with the humans. What would you do if you were Limpy? How would you communicate? Discuss the ways in which animals communicate with humans. eg dogs, cats.

  • Refer back to your investigation about cane toads. How did Goliath escape from the dog? What did he do? How did it work? What effect would it have on the dog?

  • What was Limpy planning to do when he met the Major Sponsor? What possibly would have happened had he got to the Major Sponsor’s table?

  • Which of the animals Limpy met up with in the drain are native to Australia and which are introduced? What was Limpy’s reaction to discovering his species is introduced?

  • Develop a food chain for the animals mentioned in the novel. Which animals are at the top of the food chain, which at the bottom?

  • Discuss the possibilities for cane toads in the animal Olympics.


Students read to the end of the novel to find out if Limpy’s plans succeed and he gets home safely.

Shared Session 5





  • Discuss students reactions to the end of the text.

  • Why did Limpy’s campaign to make cane toads loveable take an about turn? What was the man intending to market? Where would he get them?

  • Investigate the meaning of ‘boycott’. What is the origin of the word?

  • What criteria were used to boycott cane toads and slugs from the Non-Human Games? Why decided on these criteria? What did Limpy and Goliath do about the boycott? What other options could they have considered?

  • What are some of the problems the cane toads could still face from humans? Can you identify some solutions for the cane toads?

  • Why do you think humans have such abhorrence for cane toads? Is this abhorrence justified? What would it take to make humans more tolerant of this species?

  • How would you describe the relationship between Limpy and his cousin, Goliath? Design a semantic web to illustrate the relationship between the two cane toads.

  • What do you think the author’s point of view is concerning cane toads? Justify your reply.

  • What themes can you identify in this novel? Consider such themes as injustice, power, courage, fear, superficiality, beliefs, romance, and selfishness.

  • Identify the key issues of this novel. What messages is the author giving to his readers? Discuss whether you agree or disagree with the author’s messages and point of view.

  • How would you describe the mood of this novel? How has the author created his mood changes? Trace the mood of the novel in relation to Limpy and all that happened him. When was his darkest moment? When was his greatest despair? His greatest joy, hope?

  • What are your feelings about cane toads now, having read the novel? Have they changed? If yes, which part of the novel changed your thinking? If no, which part of the novel reinforced your feelings?

Responses to Text Activities



The Non-Human Games


  • Investigate the organisation of the Olympic or Commonwealth Games. Identify the major sports and their current records.

  • Use the animals from the novel (or animals from New Zealand).

  • Investigate the natural abilities of these animals. Identify the advantages these abilities give to the species.

  • Choose an event for each species.

  • Determine the possible records for each species based on their size compared to the size of humans.

  • Organise an Olympic Games for the animals.

  • Design a stadium for the competitors and the spectators

  • Design medals for the winners.

  • Write national anthems for each species.



Mascots





  • Investigate the use of mascots in sporting events. Include rugby, soccer, netball etc. What purpose do they serve? Who selects them? What are the criteria for selection?

  • List the mascots used in previous Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

  • How are they merchandised? What advertising logos, products etc have been produced to sell these mascots.

  • Investigate advertising. Invite an advertising executive to your class to talk about the advertising industry.

  • Decide on a mascot for your group or class.

  • Design an advertising campaign using your mascot. Develop a slogan, logo, colour, jingle, image for your mascot.

  • Decide ways in which you can use your mascot to promote and enhance your class’ image within your school.



Native or Exotic





  • Investigate the animals of New Zealand. Brainstorm all the animals

  • that live in New Zealand. Include birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, insects.

  • Group and label the animals according to whether they are native or exotic.

  • Tally and graph the information to show the ratio of the different species.

  • If exotic, determine the country of origin of each animal.

  • Select one exotic animal for an investigation.

  • Investigate the reasons for the introduction of this animal into New Zealand. When, where and why was it introduced?

  • Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of this animal on the New Zealand environment. Has it served the purpose for which it was introduced? What effects has it had on our native species of animals?

  • Present your investigation as a chart or poster.

  • Give an oral presentation or your findings to the group. Be prepared to answer questions as the ‘expert’ on this particular exotic animal.



Marketing Limpy





  • Using clay (or any modelling media), design a model of Limpy.

  • Decide on a product range e.g. cookies, bookmarks, chocolates using the Limpy design.

  • Make prototypes of your products and survey your class or school. Which product would sell? Why? What price would students be prepared to pay for your product?

  • Cost out the making of a sample range of the preferred product. (Decide if you will proceed and make and sell your product.)

  • Write advertising posters for your product. Write and present radio advertising (via the school intercom) promoting your product.

  • Design packaging for your product. Invite an expert to your class to advise you about packaging.

  • Report back to the class on the success, or otherwise, of your marketing project.

  • Make a list of recommendations to other groups wishing to complete this activity.


Organise a debate. Possible moots could be:


  • Athletes should face a lifetime ban for using steroids.

  • Soft and cuddly toys are unhygienic and should be banned.


Teacher Notes: Trish Webb 2000

Edited by: Wendy Rundle

Shared Novel Teacher Notes August 2000 Scholastic NZ Ltd


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