Other Summer Reading Challenge posts: Introduction,
Week Three: off
Who’s finished the first book??! Not me!!! And that’s totally OK, because we’ve got another week before we post our discussion on The Dragon’s Tooth. And anyway, we won’t be sending report cards home to your mom…so just keep it in your bathroom or at the kitchen table and pick it up when you can! This is supposed to be fun, not work, ok?
Thankfully, I do know one person who’s read the book, though. Our intrepid young intern-turned-assistant-editor, Hayley Schoeppler. And she’s been kind enough to write an introduction for us.
To get the most out of this read along, we invite you to do two things: 1) listen each week to our interviews with Jeff Baldwin of Worldview Academy. (CLICK HERE to listen to the first one.) Those will be posted each Monday in the main SRC post. (And here’s a hint: we’ll be giving away a lot of stuff on Mondays, so that’s another reason to stay tuned.); and 2) do the devotional posted each Tuesday. You may want to ignore the object lessons, but we’d encourage you to read God’s word and think about how it applies to the other stories we’re reading. We think it will greatly enrich your reading…and the rest of your life as well!
And now, without further ado, here’s Hayley!
A mysterious stranger, a stormy night, a Latin inscription on an index card, and a set of keys: all the ingredients for an adventure. Throw in some “people with distastefully inhuman abilities” and the disappearance of your older brother, and life is beginning to look bleak. But what if life was bleak already?
The beginning of The Dragon’s Tooth finds 13 year-old Cyrus Smith living in a run-down motel in the middle-of-nowhere, Wisconsin. Cyrus’s brother, Dan manages the motel and tries hard to make ends meet while his sister Antigone documents life with her two cameras. That is, until William Skelton arrives. After a very mysterious and confusing evening, Cyrus and Antigone wake to find their motel in ruins and their brother gone.
Thus begins a quest that will lead Cyrus and Antigone to the far away Ashtown:
The place was a fluid behemoth of stone crowned with blue sky and a towering choir of statues. It was a museum, a palace –a hulking glory large enough to hold several of both.
In Ashtown, Cyrus and Antigone learn more about the strange events that are unfolding in their lives. Their adventure is almost non-stop, and perfect for both girl and boy readers. Cyrus and Antigone are a dynamic duo of siblings, engaging enough to keep both boys and girls reading. N.D. Wilson does an excellent of job of creating siblings who are convincing as siblings yet also are good friends.
Throughout the book, Wilson’s Christian influences are evident yet woven into the story without reverting to preachiness. Also woven into the story is a wealth of literary, historical, and mythological allusions. While the action might be too intense for a younger reader –the bad guys are definitely creepy–this would be a perfect book for older readers and any lover of Percy Jackson.
1. Cyrus and Antigone are obviously the heroes of our story. Can you summarize their adventure in one or two sentences? What were they trying to do…and how did it turn out?
2. Do you see N. D. Wilson’s Christian beliefs in this story?
3. How is Cyrus’s inheritance like our inheritance as Christians? How is it different? (Read Ephesians 1-2, as well as Romans 8:15-17)
4. Let’s talk about the bad guys. You can learn a lot about a story and its author by examining his view of evil. What makes the villains here so bad? What kind of power do they have? Compare Draco the Devourer (Chapter 13) with Rev 12:9 and Isaiah 14:12.
5. Compare Rupert’s comments in Chapter 16 (“He that keeps us neither slumbers nor sleeps…”) to Psalm 121. Also see 1 Corinthians 15:42-51. How does this truth change things for the characters of The Dragon’s Tooth? How does the truth of Scripture change things for you? Specifically, how do Jeff Baldwin’s words about God creating time and being sovereign over it give you hope for success in your own adventure?
6. Nolan’s story to Sterling in Chapter 20 is similar to another story, an older story, a true story. What similarities and echoes of Scripture do you see?
Extra credit: 1) Would you like to be an Acolyte? How about a Polygoner?
We want to thank N.D. Wilson for offering three of our readers a signed copy of his book! In case you missed it, we ran a contest on Monday to give them away. So, be sure to check out our post on Monday for next week’s giveaway as well as Jeff Baldwin’s interview, all of which we hope will be very appealing for teen readers!