Teachers Notes for Black Taxi





Australian Cover

US Cover




A Novel for Young Adults by James Moloney

Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year - Older Readers 2003



Rosie is entrusted with the keys of her grandfather’s black Mercedes as he is taken off to jail for a short stay. She also becomes the keeper of his mobile phone. Both objects involve Rosie in an unwanted adventure, along with a temporary career as a ‘taxi’ driver.

Possible Discussion Points

• The location of a story’s actions, along with the time in which it occurs, is the setting. In chapter 3 we become familiar with the location for this novel. It’s the suburb of Prestwidge, inhabited by Presties, or, as Rosie puts it, by ‘Battlers, No Hopers and Petty Crooks’. Locate more of Rosie’s descriptions of her suburb. What impression of her environment does this leave you with? How do her descriptions reflect on her character?

• Compare the suburb of Prestwidge to the place where you grew up. Make a list of similarities and differences. What might you add to Prestwidge to make it more attractive? What is it about Prestwidge that you admire?

• What differences would there be if you were to transfer the characters and plot of the novel to a different setting:
- London in the 1700s
- the Sahara Desert in the present day or
- France during World War I?

• Did the story hold your interest? What parts held it more strongly? Why? Were there parts that held it less strongly? Why?

• A plot is a causal sequence of events. Summarise the plot of the novel using a sentence for each chapter. Which plot elements are evident in each:
- exposition (information needed to understand the story)
- complication (the catalyst that begins the major conflict)
- climax (the turning point when characters try to resolve the complication) and
- resolution (set of events that bring the story to a close)?

• Rosie receives several menacing phone calls regarding the ring. How did they build the tension? Find examples of their wording that illustrate this. How did Rosie’s reactions change as she understood the situation further?

• What were the chief conflicts in the story? Do they have clear starting points and resolutions? Rosie resolves the conflict of the ring by returning it to Mrs Sidebottom. How did you feel about this?

• Memorable characters come alive for us while we read. The major character in the novel is Rosie. We can find out about her in various ways including dialogue, action, opinions or point of view. List several characteristics of Rosie and illustrate with examples from the text. Which of these characteristics do you like or dislike about her? Does Rosie change at all through the novel?

• Rosie’s elderly passengers in the ‘taxi’ include Mrs Foat, Mr Giastamacomo, Mr and Mrs Duval and the Eisenberg sisters. Decide on three descriptors that best describe each of them. Locate a specific attribute in the story that exemplifies the chosen descriptor. This could be an action, their appearance, reactions of others or their dialogue, for example.

• Rosie is attracted to both Todd Rooney and Chris Meagher. List what each has going for them and what detracts. Rosie eventually chooses Todd over Chris. If you were able to alter Chris’s personality, how would he have to change to attract Rosie? How would he have acted differently at the conclusion of the novel?

• The theme of a piece of fiction is its view about life and how people behave. One of the themes of the novel is reliability. How does the character of Rosie illustrate this? How does the title reinforce this?

• Choose a chapter of the novel. List its main events as a reference. Select a key moment of the chapter that relates to a main theme, that is a moment when an important idea about human nature becomes evident or a point when a character recognises an important truth. Illustrate this with a quote from the novel.

• The novel can be described as a mystery. There is a puzzle, an unknown, a secret. It causes a problem for the main character who wants to discover the answer or solve it. Discuss this with reference to Black Taxi. If necessary, use the following basic format as an aid.
In the beginning of the story………….. wanted …………..
but ………….. and then ………….. and …………..
Finally …………..

• The story is told from the point of view of Rosie. The author has given her an obvious sense of humour. Find phrases or sentences that Rosie uses that you find humorous. Rate them from ‘raising a smirk’ to ‘side splitting’. Compare your choices with a classmate’s.

• Locate and read other titles by James Moloney. Compare their style to this novel.





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