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2 Burnside Children's Middle Readers- General

Other titles in the Sea of Trolls Trilogy series:

The Sea of Trolls

by

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Reading Group Guide

A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS

THE SEA OF TROLLS

By Nancy Farmer

ABOUT THE BOOK

In A.D. 793, eleven-year-old Jack leaves his family farm to become an apprentice to the Bard, a druid from Ireland, who is assigned to his Saxon village. At first, he is unsure of his duties, and is puzzled when the Bard experiences a nightmare that Jack later learns foreshadows a rollicking and dangerous adventure-quest with the Northmen, led by Ivar the Boneless. Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are snatched by the berserkers and enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his shipmate, Thorgil. Accompanied by a crow called Bold Heart, the two children encounter a sea of characters: humans and animals, trolls and half-trolls. There are surprises around every corner, and just when doom seems imminent, there is a bit of humor to lighten the suspense. Steeped in Norse mythology and Saxon history, The story brings Jack and Lucy full circle, but with a surprise ending.

PRE-READING ACTIVITY

Ask students to research the unique elements in Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology and share their findings in class. What are the significant differences? List the most common figures and distinctive characteristics of the Norse myths. Tell students to keep these in mind as they read The Sea of Trolls.

DISCUSSION

• Good vs. evil is a common theme in fantasy novels. Discuss the good and evil forces in The Sea of Trolls.

• Describe Jack's family. Contrast Jack's relationship with his mother to his relationship with his father. Lucy, Jack's younger sister, appears to be very spoiled. Why does Jack's father allow her to live in a fantasy world? How does her fantasy world protect her when she encounters Queen Frith?

• Giles Crookleg is very religious. How does he convey his religion to his children? Discuss how his religion is in conflict with his wife's practice of magic. Jack learns from his mother how to talk to bees and how to soothe frightened animals with song. What type of magic does he learn from the Bard? What does the Bard mean when he tells Jack "Real magic is dangerous"?

• The Bard, a druid from Ireland, is also known as Dragon Tongue. How does he acquire this name? What is the role of the Bard to the village people? Describe Jack's relationship with the Bard. Why does the Bard choose Jack to be his apprentice? Why doesn't Giles Crookleg want his son to go with the Bard? What is Jack's mother's opinion of the Bard? Discuss what Jack learns during his apprenticeship.

• The Bard advises Jack, "You should look intelligent even when you aren't." How does this advice serve Jack as he travels on his quest?

• Explain the Bard's nightmares. How do his nightmares foreshadow Jack's journey and encounter with the evil forces?

• How does the Bard protect the village people from the Jotuns? The Bard tells Jack, "Only a very special kind of warrior can overcome them." Describe the qualities of this kind of warrior. How does listening to the Bard's stories about the Jotuns help Jack see his father differently?

• Why does the Bard give Jack the rune of protection? How does the Bard's gift leave him vulnerable to the evil forces? At one point, Jack almost gives the rune to Lucy. Explain why he changes his mind. Why does Jack give the rune to Thorgil?

• The Bard tells Jack, "You see, lad, most people live like birds in a cage. It makes them feel safe. The world's a frightening place, full of glory and wonder and danger." Describe the "glory, wonder and danger" that Jack and Lucy face. What do they learn about the world by the end of the novel? How does the Bard's statement to Jack apply to the world we live in, and the way we live our lives?

• The Bard teaches Jack about fear, pain, power, magic, and anger. How does the Bard's warning of Ivar the Boneless and Queen Frith leave Jack "dizzy with fear"? At what point does Jack experience the most pain and anger? How does his magic make him feel powerful? What important lesson does he learn about power?

• Discuss the significance of Mimir's Well.

RESEARCH and ACTIVITIES

• Giles Crookleg can't read, but he has memorized stories from the monks of the Holy Isle. Write and illustrate a story that Giles might have told his children.

• When Olaf relates Thorgil's story, Jack thinks that it would make a good poem. Write the poem, and give it a happier ending to please Jack.

• Jack's mother fears that Lucy can't tell the difference between fact and fantasy. Research the Vikings. Write a factual and a fanciful story about the Vikings. Share the stories in class. Which type of story creates the most interest?

• There are good physical descriptions of the characters, both human and animal. Make an illustrated chart of the novel's characters.

• Identify the most humorous scenes in the book. In small groups, select a scene to perform as a one-act play. Create appropriate costumes.

• Four of the days of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) are named for Scandinavian gods. Research these days of the week and find out which gods the names represent. Pick one of these days and write or retell the myth that explains the name.

• The birth of Norse mythology was pre-Christianity. Research the story of the Norse creation and write a short paper that draws a parallel between this story and the creation story taught in your religion.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor Books: The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which also won the 2002 National Book Award. Her other books include her most recent novel The Sea of Trolls, Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, and three picture books for young children. She lives with her family in Menlo Park, California.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon and Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services, SC Governor¹s School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780689867446
Author:
Farmer, Nancy
Publisher:
Atheneum Books
Author:
O'Brien, Tim
Author:
Nancy Farmer
Location:
New York
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Literature - Classics
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - History
Subject:
Horror & Ghost Stories
Subject:
Historical - Medieval
Subject:
Trolls
Subject:
Druids and druidism
Subject:
Vikings
Subject:
Legends, Myths, & Fables - Norse
Subject:
Saxons
Subject:
Mythology, norse
Subject:
Bards and bardism
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables/Norse
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 5 up to 8
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f-c jkt (w-special treatment); 2 b-w map
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 27.055 oz
Age Level:
10-13

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Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General

The Sea of Trolls Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 480 pages Atheneum Books - English 9780689867446 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

From the author of The House of the Scorpion comes a thrilling adventure-quest involving Vikings, a mother Dragon, giant spiders, and a shape-shifting half-troll named Ivar the Boneless.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Readers will want to sail through these nearly 500 pages to find out what happens to young Jack and his sister, Lucy, kidnapped from their homeland by a Viking crew led by Olaf One-Brow. The two then travel across the sea where Ivar the Boneless, king of the Northmen, reigns with his half-troll wife, Queen Frith. The Bard, who fled from Queen Frith and has taken refuge on the boy's small island ('Nowhere in the nine worlds is safe for me as long as she is abroad,' the Bard explains) takes in 12-year-old Jack as an apprentice. The old man manages to teach Jack some magic and some of the complex history of the Northmen and their enemies, the Jotuns or trolls, before Olaf and his men invade. The book brims with delectable details. Ivar the Boneless, for instance, 'wears a cloak made from the beards of his defeated enemies' and Queen Frith's beauty dissolves when Jack begins to sing a tribute to her ('Her features rippled and twisted like the beasts carved on the walls'). Her rage at reverting back to her troll-like appearance prompts Jack's quest to seek Mimir's Well, in the heart of Jotunheim (troll country) in order to reverse the spell and save his sister, whom Queen Frith threatens to sacrifice if her beauty is not restored. Plotting and incidental players such as dragons and giant spiders in Jotunheim take precedence over character development here. But if the relationships are not as fully fleshed out as in Farmer's previous books, fans of Viking and adventure tales will still be up late nights to discover Jack's fate. Ages 10-13." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[S]hould instantly be added to the list of those books which leave an indelible mark on the imagination....[A] hair-raising, spine-tingling, heart-stopping adventure which really does bear comparison to The Hobbit....[T]he best children's novel of 2004."
"Review" by , "Allusions to Beowulf, the destruction of the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, and the Norse legend of Jack and Jill offer a rich backdrop for a hugely entertaining story sure to appeal to fans of The Lord of the Rings."
"Review" by , "Farmer brilliantly marries historic details about life in England, Scotland and Scandinavia in A.D. 793 with the magic of runes, trolls and bards. This story will send readers on a quest to read more about this bloody but fascinating era."
"Review" by , "[A]n engaging tale....[T]here are plenty of lighthearted moments, and the characters never seem stiff or contrived. This exciting and original fantasy will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers."
"Synopsis" by , The three-time Newbery Honor-winning author and National Book Award recipient pens a new adventure set in A.D. 793 in the land of the Vikings, where two children are soon swept up in a quest on which they encounter a dragon, a giant spider, and trolls.
"Synopsis" by , After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.
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