Parent-Child Book Discussion
snack: "penny" candy assortment
1. Thumbs up/down and general thoughts about the book.
2. Tell me about Penelope and her family at the beginning of the book. What was their life like?
3. Is money important for happiness? Why or why not?
4. The Greys have two houses in this story. What do they share in common and what is different?
(both inherited, both full of books, both had family in debt, house help/do-it self, city/country, ...
5. p 591 "Once you're in the mountains you can't see the mountains. They look different when you are a part of them." What do you think that means?
6. Describe some of the times when characters had to decide whether to keep their feelings inside or share with others. When was sharing beneficial? When was it harmful?
--Dirk unhappy in his job
--Diner. poor service with a lap full of eggs and a fly in your glass. How would speaking out have helped?
How might it not have helped?
--When Alice can't hear Penny and Penny says she was practicing for a play
--When Luella takes the last cookie
--When Duncan eats a bunch of allergy foods
--Delia gets a job
--Hiding their financial situation from people in the Whippoorwillows
7. How do Dirk and Delia change after they move to the country?
(Dirk discovers he likes cooking and housekeeping; Delia enjoys working as a garbagewoman)
8. Jealousy is a new feeling for Penny. What was she jealous about? (Louella and Jasper being friends) What does jealousy feel like? Describe a time when you were jealous. Luella was jealous too (When Down Betty shares stories with Penny and hugs her).
9. Why does Penny change her name, and do you think it was for a good reason? (a new name for a "new" person and a "new" way of life).
10. Were you surprised by the ending? Why or why not?
11. Do you think the big events in this book were caused by Penny's wishes? Why or why not? Why do you think Penny skips wishing on the shooting star at the end of the book?
12. Penny was a big reader. Name some of the famous books that were mentioned in the story. (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Bridge to Terabithia, Penderwicks, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, Magic or Not?, Little Women, Betsy Tacy, Return to Gone Away, The Way Things Work, Ballet Shoes, Black Bess, Varney the Vampire, cookbooks and a biography on Amelia Earhardt. What did I miss??)
--see the author's blog for the entire list! I missed more than I thought!
--p119, definitions for ostentatious and didactic (dictionary.com)
characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuousshow in an attempt to impress others: an ostentatiousdresser.
(of actions, manner, qualities exhibited, etc.) intended toattract notice: Lady Bountiful's ostentatious charity.
intended for instruction; instructive: didactic poetry.
inclined to teach or lecture others too much: a boring,didactic speaker.
teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson.
--Music for "Take Me Home, Country Road" by John Denver--Greys sing on their way to the country
--Telegram facts: Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006, but still wires money
--Sign Language-- here is a fun site with animated signs for kids!
--invent a recipe for "meaty" surprise
--facts about caves