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The Secret of the Painted House
by Marion Dane Bauer
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1.1. Who is our main character? Emily, 9 Logan, 4 Ghost of Pin (Penelope Hanson) is Emily’s age, died in fire in 19505 2. What is her family doing? Moving into a new house, Illinois Chicago to country (trees, corn) 3. What time of year was it? Summer vacation 4. Does she have kids for neighbors? 5. Was it mysterious that there was “conveniently” a stone path over the creek? 6. What does Emily find in the woods? Describe it.. 7. As Emily circled the house she opened the shutters, did she see what she imagined was inside? 8. Why do you think the playhouse had a padlock on the door? 9. Would you have gone in? 10. Emily didn’t tell her mother about the playhouse (p.11), why do you think she kept it a secret? Would you have kept it a secret? 11. Tell me about Emily’s meeting with Grandma Rose. Was it mysterious? Do you think Grandma Rose may have gone in (maybe when she was younger)? 12. Emily helped with unpacking and then planned to go back to the play house. Her mother reminded her that she had to watch her brother. Why didn’t Emily want to take him with her? “He’s a blabbermouth and will tell their parents about the playhouse (p.28). 13. What was her plan to get some time alone (without him)? “She leaves him picking violets next to the stream (p. 28) so she can return alone to the playhouse.” 14. What did she tell herself to make it ok (p.28)? 15. So Emily gets to the play house, and wants to go inside, but it’s locked. What does she do? Was this ok? Would you have done it? 16. Read p.39. What would you have done? Was she scared? Curious? 17. How did you feel as you read about Emily’s first trip into the painting? 18. At what point would you have stopped? 19. Would you have turned around to see who called your name? Go back into the playhouse? Stay once you saw Pin? Go into the painting? 20. What about after her comment (p. 48)? Follow her to the picnic? Was this brave or stupid? 21. Did you expect Emily to get trapped inside the painted forest? How would you have felt if it had been you? 22. New things kept showing up (p.53) like the graham crackers and chocolate bars … how did they get there? How did the marshmallow toast over a pretend fire? 23. What happened when Emily tried to leave? How did you feel as you read it? How do you think Emily felt? What made Emily try to leave Pin? How did she get back to the “real world”? What happened to the marshmallow she was holding? 24. Where was Logan? Was Emily responsible? Should her mom have been mad at her? How did Logan get there? Would you have followed your little brother? How would they get back? Did the ending surprise you? 25. Was Pin mean? Lonely? Was Pin wrong to trick Emily and Logan into the painted forest? 26. Sometimes secrets can be so powerful that they push you to do things you know are wrong. Even though Emily knew she shouldn’t be there, knew she shouldn’t break in to a locked building, she couldn’t help herself—the pull of the secret was too strong. “She pushed on one of the windows… she tried picking at the rotten wood…. She held the stick over her shoulder like a baseball bat. She swung at the frame… the glass shattered.” (p. 33) Emily knew it was dangerous. She “wanted to step into the wall. She wanted to sit down on the checked cloth and light the fire.” (p. 37) Her desire made it real and soon she was lost inside the painting. Is it right or wrong to keep secrets? 27. Can secrets ever hurt anyone? 28. What are the scary parts of this story? 29. What makes this book a mystery? 30. What is happening in this story that is unexpected? 31. Has anything mysterious ever happened to you?
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