King Kong – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

Are you looking for an engaging book to read in your classroom? Look no further than Anthony Browne’s classic, King Kong! This timeless story offers layers of interpretation and an opportunity for students to explore the features of narrative structure.

Reading the text will offer exciting discussion topics and provide an excellent context for exploring crafty writing techniques.

In this article, we’ll discuss how teachers can use King Kong as part of their more extensive scheme of work, from planning activities and assessment strategies to delivery methods and student reflection tasks โ€“ everything you need to get your class exploring narratives.

So let’s dive straight into our exploration of King Kong by Anthony Browne!

Related: For more, check out our planning overview of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare ย here.

King Kong Planning Overview

The Story of King Kong by Anthony Browne

The story follows the adventure of a young chimpanzee, King Kong, who is taken from his home in Africa and brought to New York City. He quickly becomes a sensation, and people come from all over to see him.

However, things rapidly get out of hand when the greedy promoter of King Kong’s show decides to take him up the Empire State Building.

Despite the efforts of a brave pilot, the monkey manages to escape captivity and causes chaos across the city. King Kong must be stopped to save the town from destruction – but how can anyone possibly catch such an incredible animal?

Ultimately, it is only through courage and friendship that this giant ape can be returned home safely.

Key Themes in King Kong by Anthony Browne


Throughout the story, some of the characters are motivated by greed. These include the promoter taking King Kong up the Empire State Building for his financial gain and the hunters trying to capture him for money.


Courage is a strong story theme, shown through King Kong’s bravery and the pilot trying to help catch him. Both characters risk their lives to save New York City from destruction.


Friendship also plays a vital role in this novel, as characters come together to help protect King Kong and return him safely home. This shows that even though things may seem difficult or overwhelming, finding courage in your friends and allies is possible.

Key Characters in King Kong by Anthony Browne

King Kong

King Kong is the main character of the story. He is a young chimpanzee taken from his African home and brought to New York City. He quickly becomes a sensation, and people come from all over to see him.

However, things rapidly get out of hand when the greedy promoter of King Kong’s show decides to take him up the Empire State Building. Despite the efforts of a brave pilot, the monkey manages to escape captivity and causes chaos across the city.


The pilot is responsible for trying to capture King Kong with an aeroplane after he goes on a rampage throughout New York City. The pilot shows tremendous courage in trying to save the citizens of New York City from destruction, but ultimately it requires more than just bravery โ€“ it requires friendship.


The hunters are a group of men who go after King Kong to capture him and make some money off of him. They are motivated by greed rather than any heroic aims, and they soon find out that capturing such a creature is not easy!

Teaching Opportunities from King Kong by Anthony Browne

  1. Understanding greed and its consequences: Through the example of the story’s promoter and hunters, readers can understand how desire can lead to adverse outcomes.
  2. Celebrating courage: The pilot’s bravery in trying to save New York City showcases how courage can be found in unlikely places and used for good.
  3. Showing the importance of friendship: The friendship between the pilot and King Kong ultimately helps save the day, highlighting the importance of having a support network in times of need.
  4. Teaching about racism: In this story, there is an element of racism as some characters view King Kong with fear or disdain because he is not from America. This provides an opportunity for discussing issues surrounding racism and tribalism with students.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Understanding Greed and Its Consequences


  • To understand the concept of greed and how it can lead to adverse outcomes.
  • To analyse a story to identify characters with greedy motives.
  • To discuss how consequences would have been different if characters had acted with altruistic intentions.


In this lesson, we will explore the concept of greed and its consequences using the example of King Kong by Anthony Browne. We will read portions of the book and then analyse them to identify characters motivated by greed and how their decisions lead to negative consequences.

Main Teaching Points

  • Review significant plot points from King Kong by Anthony Browne using excerpts from the text.
  • Talk about specific examples where greedy mindsets have caused harm or destruction in the story (e.g., Hunters going after King Kong for money).
  • Discuss what would have happened if people had not been driven by greed but instead acted out of altruism (e.g., the pilot’s friendship with King Kong).
  • Ask students what other stories or real-life examples might illustrate similar themes.
  • Compare and contrast elements between stories/examples of greed, looking at both positive and negative perspectives.


At the end of the lesson, encourage students to reflect on how their attitudes towards material gain shape their decisions and how they can use this understanding to make morally sound judgements that benefit themselves and those around them.

Key Questions:

  • What is greed?
  • What are some examples of characters motivated by desire in King Kong by Anthony Browne?
  • How do these motivations lead to adverse outcomes?

Lesson Plan 2: Showing the Importance of Friendship


  • To understand why friendship is important in difficult situations.
  • To analyse a story to identify moments when friendship saved or positively impacted an individual or situation. – To discuss ways readers can cultivate meaningful friendships in their lives for support during times of need.


In this lesson, we will explore the importance of friendship by examining key scenes from King Kong by Anthony Browne. We will focus primarily on a few interactions between King Kong and his pilot friend, as these examples demonstrate how true friendship can turn even dire circumstances into fruitful endings.

Main Teaching Points

Summarise significant plot points from King Kong by Anthony Browne using excerpts from the text that illustrate moments where true friendship turns danger into an opportunity (e.g., the pilot embracing King Kong after he has been cornered).

  • Talk about applicable real-world scenarios where people rely on friends for assistance with complex problems (e.g., bullying).
  • Discuss ways readers can foster meaningful friendships so they always have somebody they can depend on when they need help (e.g., kindness, empathy).
  • Provide concrete activities such as role plays that students can engage in to practice forming positive relationships with others.


At the end of class, encourage students to consider why having friends is so essential for personal success and overall well-being, as well as how having a solid network can be beneficial when tackling demanding challenges or achieving life goals like career aspirations or educational goals etc.

Key Questions:

  • What does true friendship look like?
  • How did varying types of relationships between crew members affect outcomes according to KK’s plot?
  • How do you practice forming good friendships?

Other Books with Similar Themes to King Kong

  1. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: Both stories explore the consequences of tinkering with nature and the dangers of greed.
  2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls: This story is a classic tale of friendship, determination, and courage in difficult situations.
  3. The Call of the Wild by Jack London: Another classic that delves into themes such as survival, loyalty, and the true nature of man versus beast.
  4. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: Like King Kong, Hatchet also focuses on a character who must rely on his wits and friendship to survive in a dangerous environment.
  5. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg: This nostalgic fantasy adventure teaches young readers about respect for nature and working together to overcome challenges.

Website Resources

King Kong Complete Scheme of 12 Lessons:ย Anthony Browne Linked ย is an interactive educational resource designed to help teachers facilitate lessons based on Anthony Browne’s classic book, King Kong. It includes a comprehensive twelve-lesson scheme linked to the text with objectives, resources, teaching points and much more.

Anthony Browne Resources on Teachers Pay Teachersย offers a collection of handpicked learning materials related to the author and his books, including creative activities, worksheets, assessments and study guides.

A Spelling Seed for King Kongย is a great spelling aid for young readers that uses words from the story to encourage spellers to practice their word recognition skills and gain an even better appreciation for King Kong as they learn!

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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