1. Have you ever been in a situation like Williams where you didn’t want someone to leave, and do you think it was okay what he did to Mrs. Phillips?
2. William’s parents are very busy. What role do you feel Mrs. Phillips plays in William’s life, and why is he so concerned about her leaving?
3. Why do you think the guards are so willing to help William, and what has Alastor done to the kingdom?
This is a story of young William and the adventure he has with his housekeeper, a knight, a dragon, and an evil wizard! William is given this fantastic castle by his housekeeper, Mrs. Elinore Phillips. William is sad she’s leaving for back home, and so she gifts this to him, telling him it’s been in her family for a long time. William finds out that the castle is magic when the small knight, Sir Simon, comes to life and tells him a grand story of how the wizard Alastor stole his kingdom and turned him into a toy. Sir Simon tells William of a riddle and how he’s supposed to defeat Alastor to return as the ruler of his kingdom. This leads the story to William shrinking Mrs. Phillips with a magic token, and she gets stuck in this state. William shrinks down to apologize to her, and Sir Simon points out that there are now the three things required for his quest to defeat Alastor; the lady, the knight, and the squire. William trains for a bit and their off on their quest. Sir Simon ends up getting lost along the way, and William learns a tip on how to defeat a dragon guarding Alastor castle. William then sneaks into the castle and takes a job entertaining Alastor. He learns Alastor has imprisoned Sir Simon and many others. He knows he needs to do something, and finds the right time to knock Alastor down stealing the magic tokens from the necklace he wears. He saves the kingdom and returns it to Sir Simon and everyone back to normal including Mrs. Phillips.
1. Would you have that kind of devotion to your pet or a close friend?
2. Hachiko was obviously devoted to his master Ueno, but what do you think about Yasuo’s devotion to Hachiko?
3. Who in your life makes you feel good, and how does that effect how you treat them?
This story was so sad and so sweet. It’s about a professor named Eizaburo Ueno, and his dog Hachi. The professor loves his dog and every day the professor praises his dog and tells him he’s the best dog in all of Japan. Hachi shows up every day at the train station at three to meet his master as he gets off the train. One day the professor dies and doesn’t show up anymore. Hachi being ever so faithful, still shows up every day for ten years to meet his master, until one day he too passes on. There’s a boy named Yasuo that becomes friends with Hachi and takes care of him. He tries to get Hachi to move one, but the dog stays loyal to his master. Yasuo becomes sad about the passing of Hachi, but his spirits are lifted by the Station Master. He tells Yasuo that there is a special train that brings those like Hachi to Heaven, and every day for the past ten years the professor would board that train to see if Hachiko was on it.
This is a book I loved as a young child and still do. It’s the story of a pig named Wilbur, born as a runt and saved by a farm girl named Fern. Fern takes care of Wilbur and nurses him to a healthy pig. Her father decides to sell Wilbur to Fern’s uncle, where he is sent to live in the barn. Wilbur spends his days trying to pass the time, but has trouble making friends as none of the farm animals have any interest in him. This changes though when a kind spider named Charlotte befriends him. She is very smart and talks to Wilbur about all sorts of things. One day, Wilbur is informed that he is being fattened up for slaughter. Charlotte tells Wilbur not to worry and comes up with an idea to save him. She spins a web that says, “Some Pig,” and this fascinates everyone. The farmer takes Wilbur to the County Fair to enter him in a competition. Charlotte again helps out Wilbur by this time writing, “Humble,” in a web. Charlotte ends up laying a sac of eggs and passing away. Her children hatch and Wilbur watches as they leave, but a few stay behind to befriend Wilbur. It’s a classic story that I have always enjoyed!
1. Edward went through a lot of disappointment. What purpose do you think it served, with him having gone through this much trouble?
2. Abilene lost Edward too, how different do you think the story would have been if she hadn’t? Would Edward of ever learned to appreciate Abilene?
3. How does Edward mature through each meeting and separation throughout the story?
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, is about a toy china rabbit. His owner, a little girl named Abilene, plays with him every day and he unknowingly has it good. He is a very selfish rabbit though, and does not have the respect and care for Abilene that she does for him. One day on a cruise, he is sent over board, where he sinks to the bottom of the ocean. He’s fortunate enough to get caught in a fisherman’s net, and then taken to the fisherman’s home and cleaned up. The daughter of the fisherman and his wife ends up throwing Edward into the dump, and he becomes depressed. Until he’s picked up by a hobo and his dog. They travel around and Edward sees many places. Again though, he gets left behind when he falls a train when the hobo is caught. This leads to an old woman picking him up and using him as a scarecrow. A young boy see’s Edward and takes him for his sick sister. Edward finds himself caring for the girl until she passes away. The young boy ends up taking Edward with him to Memphis, where once again another problem arises. The boy is hungry and eats too much at restaurant and can’t pay for his meal. The cook, angry with the boy, breaks Edward. This leads to the boy taking Edward to a doll maker, who will only fix Edward in exchange for keeping him. Edward sits in the shop for a long time, making friends with other dolls as he sits there day after day. There is a doll who teaches Edward to have some hope. This eventually pays off when Edward is reunited with a now grown up Abilene and her now young daughter. She takes him and he learns a valuable lesson of love.
1. What part of the story do you think makes Karana appear strongest?
2. Karana has to deal with many hardships and loss. How do you feel her life turns out after leaving the island?
3. If you were Karana, would you have given up attempts at leaving the island?
Island of the Blue Dolphins is an interesting story of a girl named Karana from an island tribe. Who eventually ends up alone on the island and has to take care of herself. This all started, because another tribe known as the “Aleuts,” brought Russian hunters to the island to obtain otter pelts. Her tribe didn’t trust the Aleuts, but made an arrangement with them to obtain half their profits in spear heads and jewelry. The deal goes bad, and in a fight half of Karana’s tribe is killed, including their chief. The new chief decides the island is no place for them, and leaves to find people to bring his tribe to the mainland. A ship returns and takes her tribe off the island, but Karana’s younger brother gets left on the island, and she swims back to him. He ends up dying to a pack of wild dogs, and Karana goes and seeks revenge on them. She wounds the pack leader, and later ends up taking him in and nursing him back to health. They become close friends, and he even defends her. He too eventually passes, leaving Karana feeling alone on the island. She makes an attempt to head to the mainland on her own and fails and turns back, making a better home for herself after realizing she’s there for much longer. The Aleuts return, and Karana befriends a girl from their tribe. Though once again she loses her friend when the tribe leaves. She then turns to befriend more animals, including another pup she swipes from the wild dogs and names after the other. Eventually Karana is rescued and leaves the island.
1. Out of the characters in the book. Who do you feel you most relate to?
2. Of the characters on the ship. Who if any or all, do you feel deserved to be put on the ship?
3. How do you think things would of faired if all the children had managed to stay together?