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The Four-Story Mistake - Part 7

This is a mini-unit for chapter seven 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 Seven: "The Show"

Vocabulary Words:



Nature Study:


Metaphors and Similes:

"with all the expression of a granite slab"

Mona wandered around "like Duse, reciting her lines aloud".  Eleonora Duse was a famous Italian actress.

Literary Allusions:

There is a reference to Hans Anderson story plays, as well as The Arabian Nights.  If you read the biography of Hans Christian Anderson, further down the page you will read that his father also read to him from the Arabian Tales!

Science, Math or History Extras:

Phosphorescence - occurs naturally and created artificially as in paints, etc.  Learn about phosphorescent (glow-in-the-dark) paint... and if you can, get some and make your own moon and stars out of painted cardboard for your ceiling!

Questions to Think About:

Randy's acting abilities could be described as adequate.  What do you think that means?  Look up the word and see if you are right.

When Mona kept her hair in curlers too long, she almost had a permanent hair disaster.  Rush referred to her as a "brillo queen".  Look at this picture of a steel wool pad like the name brand "brillo pads" and see if you can find out why Rush said what he did.

Tell in your own words what the phrase "all for art" means in the story.

Do the same with the words, "this is life".

The author used the meaning of the word "execute" in 2 different ways in the story... did you notice?  One of Oliver's lines in the play spoke of an "execution" as in a punishment by death.  Later, she wrote about a poster "executed" by Randy.  Same word -- very different meanings!  Do you think the author knew she did this?  Why do word plays like this make the story even more interesting to listen to?

What is an opus?  Look it up.  Is that what you thought it meant?

Suggested Activities:

If time allows, write your own play!  If you have sisters and/or brothers who can participate, let them audition for parts.  Make programs and posters for your play -- and put it on for friends and family!  Here is a link to some simple one-act plays you can use freely.

Listen to an old-time radio serial broadcast.

Visit a fabric store and examine beaded georgette, chiffon, lamee, basque, and sequined silks.  Purchase small pieces of each fabric to make a "touch and feel" sample book.  (You could give the finished product as a gift or make a home ec project out of it.)

Listen to or learn to play one or more of the following musical pieces mentioned in this chapter:

Golliwog's Cake Walk - listen online | print PDF sheet music

Intermezzo by Brahams - listen online | print PDF sheet music
Chorale by J.S. Bach - Bach wrote many "chorales".  Listen to this beautiful one and see if you can find more to listen to online.
Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Debussey - watch the video of famous violinist, Joshua Bell!

Write your own dance to Golliwog's Cake Walk or another classical piece you think would be fun!  Design your own costume for it, too.

Links to More Info and/or Pictures/Definitions:

Defense bonds/stamps
WWII paper drives and metal drives

Click here to go on to chapter 8.


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