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The Four-Story Mistake - Part 3

This is a mini-unit for chapter three 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 Three: "Ali-Baba Oliver"

Vocabulary Words:


Nature Study:

fringed gentians - Here is a beautiful page about the fringed gentian!

The author mentioned "suckers" on old twisted limbs of fruit trees.  A "sucker" is a twig-sized branch beginning to grow off the main trunk or in the way of or on an established larger branch.  They are unproductive and can crowd out branches which are producing fruit.  Here is a good picture of a man pruning off a sucker.

Remember this line in reference to the cellar windows?  "They glowed with a filtered, greenish light, being almost entirely smothered by grass stems, weeds, and clinging tentacles of Virginia creeper."  Virgina creeper can really take over!

Literary Allusions:

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (from The Arabian Nights)


Science, Math or History Extras:

Math:  Thirty acres of land came with the Four Story Mistake.  Learn about how to figure an acre and then estimate how far your own property would extend into your neighborhood if you had 30 acres!  If you already have that much property, you have a pretty good idea how large it is.  The Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington is on 29 acres of land.  Find out how much corn or wheat you would need to plant 30 acres.  What would the yield be in bushels for each crop?  Talk to a farmer if you live out in the country!  If you are in the city or the suburbs, design a map showing how YOU would use 30 acres!

Science:  Essential oils are growing in popularity today for a wide variety of ailments.  Read about Oil of Cloves and see why it was used for toothaches... and if that is still a recommended remedy today.  Do some research to find out how it works!

Suggested Activities:

Oliver and Randy called the Secret Cellar Room S.C.R. for short.  Make up secret initials for some of the rooms in YOUR house and see if your family can guess what you are talking about!

Links to More Info and/or Pictures/Definitions:

An old-fashioned 2 wheeled bicycle with large front wheel
"The Motor" might have looked like this 1929 Ford Model A station wagon.  And here is a neat history of station wagons (find out why it was called a 'station wagon' at all!)
Here are some robin's eggs in a nest to show you the color of "robin's egg blue"
Here is a story from an 1887 issue of "Harper's Young People".  Perhaps this is one of the stories Oliver and Randy read in the book in the S.C.R.!

Click here to go on to chapter 4.


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