Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year - Older Readers
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.
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
differences would there be if you were to transfer the characters
and plot of the novel to a different setting:
- London in the
- the Sahara Desert in the present day or
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
- exposition (information needed to understand the
- complication (the catalyst that begins the major
- climax (the turning point when characters try to
resolve the complication) and
- resolution (set of events that
bring the story to a close)?
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?
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?
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
• 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
In the beginning of the story………….. wanted …………..
………….. and then ………….. and …………..
• 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