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The Mysterious Howling
by Maryrose Wood
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1.The narrator says that Penelope Lumley looks like anyone would expect a governess to look like. How would you describe Penelope?
2.Penelope insists that “children should sleep in beds, in clean pajamas, and have bedtime books read aloud” (p.52). What other things do you think children need?
3.Think about how Lord Fredrick claims ownership of the children after finding them on his property. Should the rule “finders keepers” apply to all situations? Why or why not?
4.The word governess is a word that means nanny. Does Penelope act like a nanny should? Why or why not?
5.Penelope buys books as presents, and she carefully tries to pick out the perfect book for each person on her list. Have you ever received a book as a gift? Was it a “perfect” book for you? Why or why not?
6.Penelope came to Ashton Place for a job interview. This was her first job interview after getting out of school. Do you think she was lucky or unlucky in being hired?
7.Penelope graduated from “The Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females.” Describe what you think this school is like. (think classes, meals, dorm rooms). Use your imagination!
8.Penelope can “act like a hero even when she doesn’t feel like one?” What makes someone a hero?
9.There are a lot of stories about orphans. Consider Harry Potter, the Boxcar Children, and a Series of Unfortunate Events. Are the incorrigibles like other orphans? Why do you think kids like stories about orphans?
10.Penelope sits the children under a tree and tells them: “No more chasing squirrels.” When Alexander growls she repeats a saying of Agatha Swanburnes: “If it were easy to resist, it would not be called chocolate cake.” What do you find hard to resist?
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