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8 — Literature study: Guji-Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen

The cover of a 'Guji Guji' which consists of a duck reading a book to some younger ducks and a young crocodile

Above: Cover of Guji-Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen, Gecko Press, Wellington, 2006 reproduced with permission of Gecko Press, Illustration © Chih-Yuan, 2003

Concurrently with the science focus on egg-laying animals and following on from writing an information report, a literature study will be undertaken. Students will be introduced to the different purposes of literary and factual texts. They will examine the ways in which literary texts deal with issues and themes that affect human lives.

Issues such as acceptance, peer pressure and commitment to doing what you know is right will be examined through reading the picture book Guji-Guji. This is a classic story with a twist; a mother duck has an egg that doesn’t match the others – it is a crocodile egg. This first literature study learning sequence introduces the students to the story and the narrative structure, and begins to make comparisons between some of the language features of the narrative genre and those of informative texts.

Teacher resources


(Re)familiarise the students with the story of The Ugly Duckling by reading a traditional version and discussing it. Suggestions for discussion questions include:

Activity 1: Thinking about differences and similarities

Read and/or view Guji-Guji. Think-pair-share differences and similarities between the two stories. Provide some guiding questions such as:

Come together and jointly construct a Venn diagram comparing Guji-Guji and The Ugly Duckling. ACELY1665ACELT1591ACELT1589

Activity 2: Describing the characters

Initiate a discussion about the characters from both stories. Which characters did students like and admire and which did they dislike? What words might describe these characters? Give the students the Describing characters worksheet, with the characters listed and match some describing words/adjectives with each character. ACELT1589ACELA1462

The students can now write a character profile using the Character profile worksheet, or deliver a short oral presentation. This could be accompanied by a painting, drawing, collage or model of one of the characters (which could be done in an art lesson) from either book and should also include a statement about what they did or did not like about that character.


Lead the students in a discussion about which story they preferred and why. They should provide evidence from the story to support their opinion. ACELT1590