Thursday, February 16, 2012

"The Truth About Stone Hollow" by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

This evening Autumn finished "The Truth About Stone Hollow" by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. This was a chapter book (211 pgs.) that she and I both enjoyed, but that we wouldn't recommend for certain readers. The story takes place in Taylor Springs, California in 1938 and is about a girl named Amy who befriends a strange new boy named Jason. The two sixth grade students explore a mysterious place called Stone Hollow that is rumored to be haunted and maybe even supernatural.
This book requires the reader to think about a few important issues such as bullying, the idea of Truth, and The Great Depression. But, there are a few reasons that I would not recommend letting your child read this book without parental guidance. First of all, it has a very mysterious, almost foreboding tone to it, which makes it a little scary at times. Secondly, within the first two chapters there are four uses of profanity that need to be discussed. Third, bullying is a very important topic throughout the book, and the views on bullying expressed by Amy's teacher and her father are not the views that you want your child to adopt. Of course, if they are reading this material they are probably old enough to reason that these adult's reactions to bullying are not appropriate. However, I still think it would be a good idea to discuss this topic with your child while reading these sections together. Fourth, there are plenty of references to spirits, ghosts, other religions etc. and I think that reading this material alongside your child so as to help answer questions or explain certain references is very important when reading material that delves into other religions, or philosophies. I try not to censor Autumn's books when it comes to being exposed to different belief systems, because I think it is important that she understands other people's view points, but when she reads about them I like to accompany her as much as I can so that I can point out how certain beliefs might not be wise to adopt, or might go against what the Bible says.

Below I have created a study guide for this book. It is an example of some the questions we encountered throughout this reading, and how we use our own curiosity to learn about a variety of subjects along the way. Feel free to utilize it during your own reading of this book. Let us know what you think!

THE TRUTH ABOUT STONE HOLLOW by: Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Edition used: 1974

BOOK STUDY GUIDE: The study questions, vocabulary and reading or research suggestions below are just that: suggestions. They can be answered verbally or written. Obviously if you already know the answer to a question, or if you believe the question won’t help you to better understand the story or visualize it, then you should skip it. Of course, you should also write down your own comments/notes while reading.


  1. (pgs 1-7) What did you think of Miss McMillan’s reaction to Amy tattling on Gordie? How would you have reacted if you were the teacher?
  2. Do you think bullying should be reported or kept a secret? If you were being bullied would you want someone to tell? If you saw someone else being bullied would you tell?
  3. Could Amy have done anything else to stop Gordie from beating up Jason?
  4. Why is it never okay to use the Lord’s name in vain? If possible, use your Bible to quote scripture defending this opinion.
  5. (pg.10) Discover the differences between an insect eater vs. a seed eater’s beak. You can use the Internet or books. Draw the main differences.
  6. What does a Eucalyptus tree look like?
  7. (pg 12) Where did the saying “Mad as a March hare” come from?
  8. (pg. 14) Quickly locate Athens, Greece, Barcelona, Spain, England, and San Francisco on a world map.
  9. (pg. 23) The Great Depression is introduced. Fill one page of paper with as much information as you can find on this time period. When was it? Why did it happen? Etc.
  10.  (pg. 26) Write definitions for the following words:
-         Buddhist
-         agnostic
-         heathen
  1. (pg. 28) Take a few minutes to contemplate this quote from Aunt Abigail:
“You can hear anything if you’ve a mind to listen.”
  1. (pg.30) If you don’t know much about the following religions look them up briefly and determine how they are different from your own religion:
-         Catholic
-         Unitarian


  1. (pg. 37) Research the Prohibition and bootleggers.
  2. (pg. 43) Amy says, “Like in the Bible where Jesus made the evil spirits go into the herd of swine.” Can you find this story in your Bible?


  1. (pg. 46) What do Pepper Trees look like?
  2. (pg. 49) Locate Des Moines, Iowa on a map of the USA.


  1. (pg. 67) Do you know as much about Pioneers as Jason and Amy. They have read about the “Jumping-Off Place” the “Santa Fe Trail” and the “Donner Party.” If you want to know as much as they do make an effort to research these or get some books on these topics.


  1. (pg. 74) Read “Gulliver’s Travels” to better understand the Lilliputions that Amy uses as “wool-gathering material.”


  1. (pg. 95) What is lockjaw?


  1. (pg. 107) What is blood poisoning?


  1. (pg. 120)  Take some time to think about this quote from Jason: “Because believing is not something you can be told to do. Believing is something you have to find out for yourself. I don’t see how other people can tell you what to believe.”
  2. (pg. 128) Should you withhold a prayer to God because you are in a situation where you have been deceitful or disobedient?


  1. (pg. 130) What does a Model A look like?
  2. (pg. 132) What does “crosses to bear” mean?
  3. (pg. 136) What is truth? How would you define it? What does Jason say about truth? Is there absolute truth? Where can you find it? How do you know truth when you see it/hear it/experience it?


  1. (pg. 150) Why do you think Gordie is a bully? What do you think about Jason’s idea for why Gordie beats him up?


  1. What does a Model T look like?
  2. (pg. 155) Amy’s Mom gives her Camomile tea to drink. If you have never tried this before then get some and make a cup and try it for yourself. What is Camomile? What is Camomile tea supposed to be good for?


  1. (pg. 169) Read “The Prince and the Pauper” by: Mark Twain.
  2. Listen to Charlie McCarthy (Radio)

  1. What do you think happened to the stone that Jason gave Amy?
  2. Why do you think Aunt Abigail didn’t want to move?
  3. What could have been written on the letter that Aunt Abigail’s father gave to her mother to make her dislike her father so much?
  4. Why do you think Amy liked to run?
  5. Do you think Jason was lying, imagining, or telling the truth about the stone?
  6. How important is knowing your family history to you and your future? Do you know many family stories or much about your family’s history? If not, you should consider asking your Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, brothers, sisters or family friends to tell you something interesting about your past.
  7. What do you imagine will happen in Jason’s future?
  8. What do you imagine will happen in Amy’s future?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you! Thanks for your comments!