Books@Random Parents Teens@Random Kids@Random
Click Here to Return to Homepage
 
 
BUY THE BOOK ABOUT THIS BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AWARDS
TEACHER'S GUIDE
RELATED LINKS
Search Again
Leepike Ridge
Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse and search through your favorite titles
 
 
Leepike Ridge

Written by N. D. WilsonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by N. D. Wilson
| Random House Books for Young Readers | Hardcover | May 2007 | $15.99 | 978-0-375-83873-6 (0-375-83873-2)
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.
  • Add to Good Reads
  • Add to Librarything
  • Add to Shelfari

TEACHERS GUIDE


NOTE TO TEACHERS

An original mix of Robinson
Crusoe, King Solomon’s Mines,
The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer, and The Odyssey.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

After 11-year-old Tom Hammond gets lost in
a series of underground caves, he must survive
long enough to figure a way out of the labyrinth
and back to his mountain home before the
villainous treasure hunter who murdered his
father can do the same to his mother.

Tom Hammond’s odyssey of survival and self-
discovery begins when he decides to turn a piece
of packing foam into a raft. Angered that his mother
might remarry just three years after the mysterious
death of his father, Tom decides to try out the raft
on the river that runs near his mountain home. The
river’s powerful current drags him under the nearby
ridge and deposits him in a series of caverns that
connect to mysterious rooms and tunnels. There
Tom meets a man who has survived in the caves for
three years, a faithful dog, and rooms of ancient
treasure. Tom and his new companions must
discover a route out of the caves in time to save his
mother from a band of murderous treasure hunters.
In the process, Tom discovers the true story of his
father’s death and the key to his own identity.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

N. D. Wilson is a Fellow of Literature at
New Saint Andrews College, where he
teaches classical rhetoric to freshman. He
is also managing editor for Credenda/Agenda
magazine, a small Trinitarian cultural journal.
He lives in Idaho with his wife and four
children. Leepike Ridge is his first novel for
young readers.

TEACHING IDEAS

Leepike Ridge is
chock-full of allusions
to two of N. D.
Wilson’s favorite
novels: The Odyssey
and Tom Sawyer. Like
these tales, Leepike
Ridge is the story
of journey, survival,
and self-discovery.
Introduce allusion
as a literary device.
Then, read excerpts
from each classic
story that are relevant
to Leepike Ridge,
so that students will
recognize many of the
allusions as they read
the text. (One obvious
allusion is that both
Tom Hammond and
Tom Sawyer are
trapped in caves
that hold treasure.)
pre-readingactivity
Leepike Ridge is
chock-full of allusions
to two of N. D.
Wilson’s favorite
novels: The Odyssey
and Tom Sawyer. Like
these tales, Leepike
Ridge is the story
of journey, survival,
and self-discovery.
Introduce allusion
as a literary device.
Then, read excerpts
from each classic
story that are relevant
to Leepike Ridge,
so that students will
recognize many of the
allusions as they read
the text. (One obvious
allusion is that both
Tom Hammond and
Tom Sawyer are
trapped in caves
that hold treasure.)
thematic connections

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

Survival—Reg has remarkable survival skills. Discuss how these skills help Reg
survive underground for three years. Cite examples of both Tom’s and Reg’s ingenuity.

In chapter six, Tom realizes that the water level has risen and that he must
leave the beach before he drowns. Have students re-read pages 71–77. Discuss
how Tom’s survival instinct and will to live deliver him to Reg.

In his treasure room, Reg keeps items that he has found in his net. He says,
“Most of this stuff isn’t that useful, but what hasn’t kept me alive has kept me
sane.” (p. 125) Discuss what Reg means by this statement. Why is it so
important to “exercise” one’s mind?

Perseverance—As Tom descends into the watery mountain, he fights with all
of his strength to survive the fall. “He stopped counting the collisions. Shin,
shoulder, skull, and knuckles, ribs all throbbed. His numb mind ignored them.
He was still alive and that is all that it would process: life, one breath at a time.”
(p. 23) Discuss how this idea of living, one breath at a time, helps Tom in his
journey. How can you apply this idea to your own life?

Hope—Elizabeth refuses to accept that Tom is dead. On pages 25 and 114,
how does Elizabeth demonstrate hope that her son is still alive?

How are the Crazy Berry juice boxes that Tom and Reg drink during their first
meal together a symbol of hope? In chapter fourteen, “Crazy Berry,” Tom and
Reg drink the last two boxes while sitting atop the chimney. At this point in the
story, what do you think the juice boxes symbolize?

Friendship—Have students re-read pages 134–136. How does the experience
that Ted and Reg go through together demonstrate an unyielding friendship?
How does Tom and Reg’s experience surviving in the caves and eventually
finding a way out forge a solid bond between them?

Although Phil pretends to befriend Elizabeth, how do his actions give him
away? What does he do and say that show him to be a false friend?

Acceptance—In chapter nine, Tom learns the truth about his father’s death.
Reg says, “Tom. After three years down here, I’ve not learned too much. But
one thing I do know is that our bellies aren’t big enough for revenge. It turns
sour and eats you up.” (p. 137) How does this advice help Tom accept his
father’s death and move beyond his initial need for revenge?

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

Language Arts—N. D. Wilson was greatly inspired
by both Homer’s The Odyssey and Tom Sawyer by
Mark Twain. Most of the characters’ names are
allusions to characters in these classic adventure
stories. For example, Tom is named for Tom Sawyer,
and Cy is an allusion to Cyclops. Have students use
the Internet to research the characters in The
Odyssey. Challenge them to identify the allusions
connected to each character’s name in Leepike Ridge.
(According to the author, the character of Pook is not
an allusion based on The Odyssey).

On Ted Hammond’s grave mound, Reg inscribed the
words: In the ground, the best seed is never wasted.

(p. 130) Ask students to write a journal entry
explaining what this sentence means to them.
Social Studies—While underground, Tom and
Reg discover an ancient tomb that houses a
sarcophagus and other anterooms filled with
carvings of animals, ancient script, broken pottery
and other artifacts. Reg believes that the tomb and
its contents are either Phoenician or Chinese. Give
students time to research one of these ancient
cultures, focusing on tombs and what artifacts
would commonly be placed inside of them.

Reg is a historian and is very knowledgeable about
ancient inventions. He builds a water clock so that he
can keep track of the days. Have students choose an
ancient culture, such as Egyptian, Chinese, or Greek
and research its inventions. Students can report their
findings to the class.

Math—Reg keeps track of his days underground by
carving Roman numerals into a wall. (p. 122)
Introduce or review roman numerals. Discuss how
these numbers are still used today.

Art—Inside the caves, Tom and Reg discover
ancient sculptures in the form of animals. Show
students examples of animal art, specifically
sculpture, from history. Examples might include the
Lion’s Gate at Mycenae, the Great Sphinx of Egypt,
or animal totems that appear in some Native
American tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Help
students work as a team to design and create a large-
scale animal sculpture.

Personification is the literary device of
describing inanimate objects with human
qualities. There are many excellent examples of
personification in Leepike Ridge, such as “The
whispers and conversations of moss disputing
with grass over some soft piece of earth, or the
hummingbirds snoring.” (p. 17) Challenge
students to identify additional examples of this
device in the story. (Other examples can be
found on pages 18, 191, and 218).

VOCABULARY

Ask students to jot down unfamiliar words and
try to define them, taking clues from the context.
Such words may include: constricting (p. 72),
infestation (p. 101), harrumphed (p. 106),
veneer (p. 111), ballast, (p. 113), grisly (p. 118),
gloated (p. 132), detonation (p. 133),
sarcophagus (p. 221), excavation (p. 221),
anticlimax (p. 222), and cuneiform (p. 223).

ABOUT THIS GUIDE

Prepared by Colleen Carroll, Children’s Book Author, Education Consultant, and Curriculum Writer, Sleepy Hollow, New York.


 
PDF ATTACHMENT

PDF