Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chasing the Nightbird

Book menu for Chasing the Nightbird by Krista Russell

ISBN of edition I read:  9781561455973 (hardcover).

This historical fiction won the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award in the children's/young adult category. Set in 1850s New Bedford, MA, this quick read is filled with the serious business of slave fugitives, whaling, and child labor. Yet, Russell's tale also offers wonderful humor and wit.

Food mentioned in Chasing the Nightbird:
Roast beef and fried potato, 3
Plum duff, 3, 76
Chachupa, 16, 19, 122
Salthorse, 54
Fish stew, 81

Great vocabulary in Chasing the Nightbird :
bilgy, 1
offing, 1
doffed, 3, 18
landlubbers, 3, 7, 11, 14, 23
roil, 5
visage, 7
waylay, 10
bilge, 11
berth, 14
mete, 27
dissonant, 30
leviathan, 57
caul, 60
stevedore, 86
addled, 93
scrimshawed, 109

Literary elements in Chasing the Nightbird :
Personification: page 26 - "Tall windows were menacing mouths with rows and rows of teeth."
Simile: page 33 - "A boy with skin dark as a moonless night at the equator smiled at him."

Discussion questions for Chasing the Nightbird :
1. Each chapter begins with the name and image of a marine knot. How does each knot relate to the novel and to each chapter?

2. Which of the whaleman's "commandments" is your favorite? Which helped Lucky the most?

3. In the first paragraph the narrator explains the belief of seagulls possessing the souls of dead sailors. Whose soul might Delph possess?  What is this seagulls significance to Lucky and his story?

4. Why do think the author named her main character "Lucky"?  What significance does the name "Fortuna" have?

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