ABOUT THE BOOK
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The door to Will's cherished plans has been closed forever. What now lies ahead for him? After an awful accident, fifteen-year-old Will must decide what to do with his life. As he discovers his talent, his sister, Cassie, also learns there are more opportunities a young woman can pursue. THEMES
Family life; Brothers and sisters; People with disabilities DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
• Why did Will's father tell him he could never be a farmer?
• What skill did Will acquire to help pass time?
• What kinds of opportunities were offered to Will in the city?
• Who did Will carve at the end of the story?
• How is life different in this book, set in the 1820s, than it is today?
• How do you think you would cope with such a disappointment as Will has in this book?
• How would the story be different if Will's accident occurred in modern times?
• What does it mean to "winter well"? How does this expression apply to Cassie and Will's story? ACTIVITIES
• Since Will enjoyed whittling animals, make your favorite animal out of molding clay.
• Make Dr. Theobold's wife's favorite flower, a rose.
• Serve cider and molasses cakes after reading the description from the book.
• Several topics for research are available in the Historical Notes and in the book: Wiscasset, Maine; early medical procedures; Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell; Thanksgiving; New England farming techniques; ship figureheads; apothecaries.
• Design/sketch a figurehead you'd like to see on a ship.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Lori Swiercinsky
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.