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The Four-Story Mistake - Part 2




This is a mini-unit for chapter two of Elizabeth Enright's delightful story for children, "The Four-Story Mistake". Read the instructions for using this unit, if you haven't done so already.


Chapter Two: "A View Apiece"

Vocabulary Words:

cataract
circumstance
complicating
cupola
fragrance
incredulously
mantle
metallic
oblong
opaque
revolting
torrent


Nature Study:

Norway Spruce (pages 675-678)

Maple (pages 628-634)


Metaphors and Similes:

"The tree swam into view."

"...turning sand like brown sugar..."

"Rush could feel the hunger in his stomach uncoiling like a cobra."

Question:  Do you remember what object was "tall and dignified, like Florence Nightingale among the wounded"?


Literary Allusions:

Why did Willy call Rush Robinson Crusoe?

There were also references to Tarzan by Edgar Burroughs.  My boys LOVED the original classic Tarzan stories and discussed them at length, much like the Melendy children might have.  Here is a link to a free online version of Tarzan of the Apes -- have your older children read at least the first chapter!

Here is what one reviewer has to say about Tarzan: "Reading this book expanded my vocabulary and provided me with a flawless example of how to use the Queen's English. Also the heroes are true heroes, exhibiting chivalry and valor. Plus the story is captivating!  Four great reasons to read this book."


Correcting Poor Grammar:

Willy (in reference to coffee and chewing tobacco):  "Never hurt me none."


Questions to Think About:

Why did Willy refer to the eggs he bought that morning as "still warm from the grocery store"?  Do some online research about whether eggs need to be refrigerated.  (You will find lots of different opinions, but if you buy eggs at a grocery store in Europe, you would find them for sale on an unrefrigerated shelf!)  Follow the 'bunny trails' until you find a discussion about butter, too.  Find out what a 'butter bell' is and how it works to keep butter fresh outside a refrigerator.

Black coffee has large quantities of a stimulant called caffeine.  Caffeine, like all drugs, should probably be used in moderation, if at all.  On the other hand, chewing tobacco is known to cause mouth cancer.  It is also a rather disgusting habit!  Read Sean Marsee's sad story about the dangers of chewing tobacco.  Read about excessive caffeine consumption.  Why do you think Wily wanted to teach Rush to chew tobacco?  Do you think Mr. Melendy would have been unhappy to know about that?

What did Rush mean when he said he was "forced by circumstance" to consume 2 breakfasts?  What type of pressure was Rush under to do something he really didn't want to do and felt very sorry for later?

In thinking about the 4 windows of the cupola, which view would be most like you?  Which views would be most like your brothers, sisters, or parents?  Why did Father suggest exchanging views?


Suggested Activities:

Willy talked about his desire to be a hobo.  Get the book Smoke Above the Lane by Meindert de Jong from the library if you can -- and enjoy this fun book as a family read aloud.  We've enjoyed this little story especially on camping trips. :-)

Draw a map or picture of what the grounds around the Four Story Mistake might look like based on the view from the cuppola to the North, South, East and West.

Oliver, who was just learning to read, was very funny in his pronunciation of "Tribal Customs of the Sudan".  He pronounced it "Tribble Customs of the Sudden".  Make up some funny mispronounced titles for your family to guess!  Hint:  Use headlines from your local newspaper for inspiration.


Click here to go on to chapter 3.


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