Tuesday Tales: The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem (Book Giveaway Contest)
November 3, 2009 in Creative Writing activities, Halloween Books, High School Teachers, Making Predictions, Reading Skills, Tuesday Tales, Whinnem Reade Scott, Writing Skills, Young Adult Novels Tags: Reade Scott Whinnem, scary stories, The Pricker Boy, thriller, young adult novel
photo by Irargerich www.flickr.com
For an SCBWI writing workshop in Chicago in less than two weeks, I was assigned to read The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem. Now I am reviewing it, providing some discussion/activity ideas, AND offering a BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST. Please leave a comment below about this book or your favorite ghost story/legend or something that frightened you as a child–you’ll see why when you read this post. One winner will be randomly selected to win The Pricker Boy (Random House) from the comments posted by Friday, November 6 at 4:00 p.m. CST.
***For extra entries, use the SHARE THIS link at the bottom of this post. For each place you share this contest and post about The Pricker Boy, you will get an extra entry into the contest. Please leave a SEPARATE comment letting me know each place you shared this link! Thanks. . .Now onto the story.
*Young adult, contemporary thriller
*Fourteen-year-old boy as the main character
*Rating: The Pricker Boy is a good, scary story–but that’s not all. It’s also about friendship and summer and peer pressure. Great read!
Short, short summary: Stucks Cumberland has some typical fourteen-year-old guy problems. He is starting to like the girl that has always been his buddy. His best friend, Pete, and he are growing apart–Pete wants to smoke and go to keggers, and Stucks wants to hang out with the kids they always do. Stucks wants to build fires in the woods, tell ghost stories, and just have a fun summer. But what happens when the favorite scary story about The Pricker Boy seems like it might be coming true? The Pricker Boy was taunted by his peers, abused by his father, and left in the woods in a fur trap. He still haunts the woods where the kids like to hang out, but they know not to go past the Widow’s Stone if they want to stay safe. They especially know not to go alone. But then Stucks and his friends find a package in the woods–it’s full of many items they had left in the woods throughout their childhood that were offerings to the Pricker Boy, so he would leave them alone. Now it’s as if he is rejecting their offerings, and so they decide to go into the forbidden woods to figure out what is really going on once and for all.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. About half way through the book, readers can decide for themselves what they think is going on in the woods and what they think Stucks and his friends should do about it. In reading response journals (this is especially helpful if students are reading this as part of reading workshop or independent reading), ask students to write their predictions and hypothesis about the Pricker Boy. They should also base their predictions on information in the novel. Ask them to provide quotes or reference the pages they are using as a basis for their predictions.
2. This book is also about the dynamics of a teen peer group and what happens when one of the members (Pete) becomes an outsider. You can do a few different activities with this theme. You can ask students or your child which character they feel they are most like and why. For example, are they like Vivek–always making a joke or Robin–always taking care of everyone and doing the “right” thing? You can also ask students to discuss or write about why they think Pete acts the way he does. They can write about the way Ronnie is treated and how that makes them feel. This is one of those books where students can discuss the characters and themselves at the same time. It can open up discussions between parents and teens, too.
3. Everyone loves a scary story–especially told around the campfire. You can ask students to write their own scary stories or ones they’ve heard before. You can also ask students to compare and contrast The Pricker Boy with other scary books they’ve read or movies they’ve seen. What makes a story spooky or scary?
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