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  • The Gypsy Game
  • Written by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
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  • The Gypsy Game
  • Written by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
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Written by Zilpha Keatley SnyderAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

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List Price: $7.99

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On Sale: March 27, 2013
Pages: 240 | ISBN: 978-0-307-83328-0
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
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fiction (31) mystery (16) young adult (10) children's (10) ya (9) fantasy (9) realistic fiction (7) romany (5) gypsies (5)
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The kids from The Egypt Game are back. What game will they play next? The answer is Gypsies. While April plunges in with her usual enthusiasm, the more Melanie learns, the more something seems to be holding her back. But it's Toby who adds a really new wrinkle when he announces that he himself is a bona fide Gypsy. Plus he can get them some of his grandmother's things to use as real Gypsy props for the new game. What could be more thrilling? Then Toby suddenly and mysteriously disappears, and the kids discover that living as real-life Gypsies may not be as much fun as they thought. How will they find Toby and rescue him from the very real problems that are haunting his life?

Excerpt

"Not very much I guess. Why?"

            That was the first thing Melanie said when April asked her if she
            knew anything about Gypsies. April didn't answer. A minute or so later
            Melanie waved her hand in front of April's eyes and said, "Hey, anybody
            home? Come back to earth." Still no answer. April just went on staring
            into space. . . .

            So when it took a long time for April to say why she asked the Gypsy
            question, it didn't surprise Melanie all that much. She knew that
            when April's blue eyes got that spacey look it usually meant that
            she was on to something new and exciting, and if you waited long enough,
            you were sure to hear all about it. So Melanie waited. While she waited,
            she had time to sit up, scratch the mosquito bite on her ankle, make
            a face at herself in the mirror on April's dressing table, and flop
            back down again.

            Finally April sighed and said, "Oh, I don't know. It's just what you
            said about it not being the same. Going back and doing the same things
            over and over. You know, all that Egyptian stuff. And just the other
            day I was reading this magazine that had all this great stuff about
            Gypsies. I was just thinking how maybe we could. . ." She sat up,
            shoved back a straggle of blond hair, grinned at Melanie, and went
            on, "I was thinking that maybe we could try being Gypsies for a change."

Zilpha Keatley Snyder|Author Q&A

About Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Zilpha Keatley Snyder - The Gypsy Game
“I think writing is an extension of a childhood habit—the habit of entertaining oneself by taking interesting bits of reality and building upon them.”—Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Zilpha Keatley Snyder is a three-time Newbery Honor winner, as well as the author of several ALA Notable Children’s Books, School Library Journal Best Books, and books that have received the Christopher Award and the William Allen White Award.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in California, in the country—with no television and few movies to watch—three-time Newbery Honor winner Zilpha Keatley Snyder filled her childhood with animals, games, and books. Among her earliest acquaintances were cows, goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and horses. In fact, her family’s animals were her closest friends, and a nearby library was a constant source of magic, adventure, and excitement for her. And when she wasn’t reading or playing with animals, Snyder made up games and stories to entertain herself.

While Snyder was growing up, interesting stories filled her household. Both of her parents spent a lot of time relating true accounts of past events in their lives, so Snyder came by her storytelling instincts honestly. But unlike her parents, when Zilpha had something to tell, she had, as she says, “an irresistible urge to make it worth telling, and without the rich and rather lengthy past that my parents had to draw on, I was forced to rely on the one commodity of which I had an adequate supply—imagination.” Consequently, at the age of 8, Snyder decided to become a writer.

As a student, Snyder was very proficient at reading and writing and experienced few problems in the small country schools she attended until the end of sixth grade. But upon entering the seventh grade in the big city of Ventura, she was, as she recalls, “suddenly a terrible misfit.” Snyder retreated further into books and daydreams, and admits: “Books were the window from which I looked out of a rather meager and decidedly narrow room, onto a rich and wonderful universe. I loved the look and feel of books, even the smell. . . . Libraries were treasure houses. I always entered them with a slight thrill of disbelief that all their endless riches were mine for the borrowing.”

Snyder attended Whittier College in Southern California, which recently awarded her an honorary doctorate. There she also met her future husband, Larry Snyder. While ultimately planning to be a writer, after graduation Snyder decided to teach school temporarily. But she found teaching to be an extremely rewarding experience and taught in the upper elementary grades for a total of nine years, three of them as a master teacher for the University of California at Berkeley. Zilpha and Larry were married in June of 1950, and went on to have three children, Melissa, Douglas, and Ben.

In the early sixties, when all of her children were finally in school, Snyder began to think about writing again. “Writing for children hadn’t occurred to me when I was younger, but nine years of teaching in the upper elementary grades had given me a deep appreciation of the gifts and graces that are specific to individuals with 10 or 11 years of experience as human beings. Remembering a dream I’d had when I was 12 years old about some strange and wonderful horses, I sat down and began to write.” Season of Ponies, Snyder’s first book, was published in 1964.

Snyder’s novel, Gib Rides Home, is a vivid look at the life of an orphan in prairie country almost a century ago. The book was inspired by Snyder’s father, who grew up in a Nebraska orphanage and was farmed out as labor on nearby ranches.

Snyder lives in Mill Valley, a small town near San Francisco. In her spare time, she still loves reading and traveling, and, of course, writing, which besides being her occupation has always been her all-time favorite hobby. You can visit the Zilpha Keatley Snyder home page at www.zksnyder.com


A MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR

“I began to write for children through the fortunate accident of nine years in the classroom. But I’ve continued to do so because over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s where I’m happiest. It is, I think, a matter of personal development (or lack of it, as the case may be). There are several peculiarities that I share with children which, like having no front teeth, are perhaps more acceptable in the very young, but which, for better or worse, seem to be a part of my makeup.

“First of all, there is optimism. Since growth and hope are almost synonymous no one begrudges a child’s natural optimism, but a writer’s is another matter. It’s not fashionable to write optimistically for adults nor, I must admit, even very sensible, given the world we live in today. But my own optimism seems to be organic, perhaps due to ‘a bad memory and a good digestion’ (a quote that I can’t attribute due to the aforementioned failing).

“Secondly, there is curiosity. Mine is as intense as a 3-year-old’s, but where a 3-year-old’s most obnoxious trait might be asking ‘Why?’ several hundred times a day, I am given to eavesdropping on conversations, peering into backyards and lighted windows, and even reading other people’s mail if I get a chance.

“And thirdly, there is a certain lack of reverence for factual limitations and a tendency to launch out into the far reaches of possibility.

“So I enjoy writing for an audience that shares my optimism, curiosity, and freewheeling imagination. I intend to go on writing for some time, and though I may occasionally try something for adults, I will always come back to children’s books, where I am happiest and most at home.”

—Zilpha Keatley Snyder


PRAISE

GIB RIDES HOME
“The novel delivers an engaging glimpse of history as well as a compelling story.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“An exceptionally atmospheric and suspenseful tale.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly


THE EGYPT GAME
“Only in the hands of a skillful writer would the characters emerge so lifelike that the reader feels that he knows each one. A brief review cannot do justice to the book, which has originality and verve in plot, style and characterization.”—Starred, Library Journal


THE GYPSY GAME
“[The Gypsy Game] continues to offer Snyder’s well-nigh irresistible combination of suspense, wit and avowal of the imagination.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly


CAT RUNNING
“Seen through Cat’s eyes, this story is both appealing and informative. . . . The characters are well drawn and beautifully motivated. . . . A compelling addition to Snyder’s superb body of work.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“This tender historical novel is as moving as it is insightful.”—Starred, Publishers Weekly

“Snyder’s setting and characters are beautifully realized. The moving conclusion is tempered with a bracing reality.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews


LIBBY ON WEDNESDAY
“The characters are pungent and believable, their interaction well-realized. . . . A grand, multileveled novel.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews


Author Q&A

author fun facts


Born: May 11 in Lemoore, California


Education: B.A. from Whittier College in Southern California


Residence: Mill Valley, California


Previous job: Schoolteacher in the upper elementary grades for nine years


Pet: A silky terrier, a 12-pound student of human nature


Favorite hobbies: reading, writing, traveling


Favorite foods: bread, cheese, fruit


Favorite clothes to wear: warm and baggy clothes


Favorite colors: red, white, lavender


Favorite books: too many to name


From the Hardcover edition.

Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



ABOUT THIS BOOK

The kids from The Egypt Game are back, and they're ready to play a new game--Gypsies. In The Gypsy Game, when April and Melanie present their new game to the gang they discover an intriguing fact: their friend Toby Alvillar claims to be "a real, live, authentic Gypsy." As the friends develop their new game, Toby becomes distant and strange. Then one day, Toby disappears and the group is on a search that leads them toward a new understanding of family and friendship.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

Raised in California, in the country--with no television and few movies to watch--three-time Newbery Honor winner Zilpha Keatley Snyder filled her childhood with animals, games, and books. Among her earliest acquaintances were cows, goats, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, and horses. In fact, her family's animals were her closest friends, and a nearby library was a constant source of magic, adventure, and excitement for her. And when she wasn't reading or playing with animals, Snyder made up games and stories to entertain herself.

While Zilpha Keatley Snyder was growing up, interesting stories filled her household. Both of her parents spent a lot of time relating accounts of past events in their lives, so Snyder came by her storytelling instincts early. But unlike her parents, when Zilpha had something to tell, she had, as she says, "an irresistible urge to make it worth telling. And without the rich and rather lengthy past that my parents had to draw on, I was forced to rely on the one commodity of which I had an adequate supply--imagination." Consequently, at the age of eight, Zilpha Keatley Snyder decided to become a writer.

TEACHING IDEAS

Pre-Reading Activity

The Egypt Game and The Gypsy Game depict a special friendship that develops among six diverse characters. Ask students to write a journal entry about one of their friends who is most unlike them. What makes their friendship special? Encourage them to share their writing with the class.

Thematic Connections

Friendship
In many friendships, one person emerges as the leader. Trace the friendship that develops between Melanie and April as they engage in the games of "Egypt" and "Gypsy." Which girl appears to be the leader?

Abandonment
There are several characters who feel abandoned by friends and family. In The Egypt Game, April feels that her mother abandons her when she sends her to live with her grandmother. In The Gypsy Game, Toby's security is threatened when his maternal grandparents try to take him from his father. Ask students to compare and contrast the way April and Toby deal with their feelings of insecurity and abandonment. Describe how each of the following characters may also feel abandoned: the Professor in The Egypt Game; Garbo in The Gypsy Game; Bruno, the dog in The Gypsy Game.

Family and Relationships
Melanie, Marshall, and Ken are the only characters in the novels who live in a traditional family. At what point does April begin to accept that she and her grandmother are a family in The Egypt Game? How does their relationship grow in The Gypsy Game? Ask students to make a special Mother's Day card that April might give to her grandmother.

Toby feels a special bond with his father despite their unusual life-style. This is especially evident in The Gypsy Game. Describe their relationship. How does Toby's father demonstrate his love for Toby? Ask students to write a letter that Toby might write to his grandparents stating why he wants to live with his father.

Ethical Dilemmas
Toby's father places the children in an "ethical dilemma" when he comes to the Gypsy Camp and asks them about Toby's whereabouts. What is an ethical dilemma? How do the children finally solve their quandary? Engage the class in a discussion about the predicaments that today's teenagers face. How can peer pressure place a person in an ethical dilemma? In what situations might it be okay to break a promise to a friend?

A Sense of Community
The "Egypt" and "Gypsy" games provide the children with a sense of community and teamwork. How does the neighborhood surrounding the Casa Rosada rally behind the Professor? How do the children use their "Gypsy Game" to help Toby? How does finding Toby lead the children toward serving the homeless in their community?

Interdisciplinary Connections

Social Studies
April and her friends conduct research about Egyptians and Gypsies before engaging in their games. Ask the class to name other ancient cultures that they have studied, such as the Incas and Aztecs, and the ancient Babylonians, Chinese, and Greeks. Divide the class into groups, allowing each to select one culture to research the facts needed to create a new game. After the groups share their research with the class, ask which of the cultures researched would most likely interest April and Melanie and why.

Toby's grandparents were Gypsies, belonging to the Rom tribe. Ask students to research the culture of the Roms and describe how they made a living, their family structure, laws, religion, and language. Students may gain insight into the Roms by researching the Irish Travelers who live in South Carolina today.

Health
When Toby is on the run in The Gypsy Game he encounters some homeless people. Garbo tells him about one man who died in the basement of the boarded-up church. Invite someone from your community who deals with homeless people to speak to the class. Ask them to discuss the most common health threats to homeless people. What agencies in your town or city are trying to help the homeless?


Teaching ideas prepared by Pat Scales, director of library services, The South Carolina Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville, South Carolina.

REVIEWS

*"[ The Gypsy Game ] continues to offer Snyder's well-nigh irresistible combination of suspense, wit and avowal of the imagination."
--Starred, Publishers Weekly

"Readers who thrilled to the magic and mystery of the costumes, ceremonies, and pharaoh's curses in The Egypt Game will find themselves drawn to and intrigued by the jewelry, colorful clothes, and fortune-telling in this adventure."
-- The Horn Book

"The characters, plot, and setting are realistic and kids should find this mystery of why Toby ran away to be a page-turner."
-- Children's Literature

FURTHER READING

Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White[0-440-41372-9]
The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto[0-440-41446-6]
Gib Rides Home by Zilpha K. Snyder[0-385-32267-4]
Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff[0-440-41453-9]
Monkey Island by Paula Fox[0-440-40770-2]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://egydir.soficom.com.eg/
http://www.qvctc.commnet.edu/student/GaryOKeefe/homeless/frame.html
http://www.nationalhomeless.org/
http://library.thinkquest.org/3011/?tqskip=1
http://artalpha.anu.edu.au/web/arc/arcworld.htm
http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/ej/jpe/anthenv/



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