Reading Group Guide

    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.
    Family life; Brothers and sisters; People with disabilities
    • 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?
    • 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
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