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by Gail Carson Levine
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1.At the beginning of the book, Aza works in her family's inn. What did you think of the way some of the guests treated her?
2.Sometimes people are rude or mean to people who are ugly. Why do you think people act that way?
3.Maybe part of the reason Aza thought she needed to be prettier is that she just didn't look the same as those around her, since she was adopted. Do you think "pretty" means different things to different people? Why or why not?
4.Would you want to live in Ayortha, where everyone sings all of the time? Why or why not?
5.The gnome zhamM twice predicted Aza's future -- and he turned out to be right. What do you think about fortune-telling?
6.When the duchess needed a companion, Aza was suddenly taken from her family's simple inn and thrust into the unfamiliar world of the castle with all of its royal ways. Would you want to suddenly live with a king, a queen, and a prince? Why or why not?
7.Tell us at least one thing you liked about descriptions of life at the castle.
8.What do you think you would have done, if you were in Aza's place and the Queen asked you to illuse for her at the Healing Sing?
9.What do you think about Queen Ivi? Based on her actions and the things she says, would you want to be friends with her? Why or why not?
10.When you learned that Aza is part gnome -- instead of part ogre -- were you surprised? Why or why not?
11.What did you think when Aza read the letter from her mother that told her she was "highborn," possibly the daughter of a king?
12.Why do you think Prince Ijori was, at first, so willing to believe that Aza was part ogre and that Queen Ivi's version of what happened was true, that Aza had sung for the queen and wanted to be queen herself?
13.In the letter Prince Ijori sends to Aza while she is in the Gnome Caverns, he tells her that he never thought she was ugly and that he loved her for who she was and how she looked. How might the story have been different if he had told her all of this earlier?
14.How is this story similar to the traditional story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves"? Or how is it different?
15.Would you want to take a potion that could make you more beautiful? Or a potion that would allow you to look like someone else? Why or why not?
16.Aza tells Sir Uellu, the choirmaster, that "Voices and faces aren't manifestations of good or bad." What do you think she meant by that?
17.What do you think is meant by the Ayorthian saying, "Can a dragon judge ostumo?"
18.What do you think about the cover picture on this book? Do you think it shows Aza the way that the author described her?
19.What did you think of King Oscaro's decision to send Queen Ivi away, but not to put her in the dungeon for her attempt to kill Aza? Did the queen get what she deserved? Why or why not?
20.Did you ever feel sorry for Queen Ivi? Or does she seem like a "bad," self-centered person all of the time?
21.While living in Gnome Caverns and eating gnome foods, Aza craved human food -- which ended up leading to her being poisoned by the queen in disguise. If you were to live in another place that didn't have the food that you are used to, what food would you miss the most?
22.After Aza drank the beauty potion, not all of the attention to her new looks turned out to be good for her. Do you think if you could just be pretty enough, or smart enough, or rich enough, that everything in your life would be good? Why or why not?
23.Instead of reviving Aza with a fairy-tale kiss, Prince Ijori strikes her on the back to dislodge the poisoned apple caught in her throat. Do you like this more realistic way of "saving" the girl? Or do you prefer more romantic stories of the boy rescuing the girl?
24.In America, does it seem more important to be beautiful or to have some talent, such as singing or being good at something like science or math?
25.Does it matter to be beautiful? Why or why not?
26.Would you like to see this book turned into a movie? Why or why not?
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