Girl & Gran
Author: Nan Gregory Illustrator: Ron Lightburn
Info: Red Deer, Alta. : Red Deer Press, c2000.
1. Is Wild Girl really a princess in the
castle keep? Is she a pirate? When you play make believe, are you
really what you pretend to be?
When Wild Girl is a pirate, does she look like a pirate? Act like a pirate? Act like herself? How do you pretend? What does it mean to pretend?
2. Gran likes to knit. She knits sunsets, sparks on the sea,
and songs of a bee. What do you
think it means when the book says Gran knits a sunset? Is Gran really knitting a sunset? If you draw a picture of a boat, did
you make a boat?
3. Gran plays along with Wild Girl's
imagination. When you imagine
being in a boat on the sea, can you see the ocean? Smell the salt air?
See the seagulls? When Gran
plays along, does she imagine the sea too? Does it look the same to her? Smell the same?
Can she see the seagulls if Wild Girl doesn't tell her about them? When Wild Girl and Gran are horses,
they both act the same way. Is
Gran acting like a horse, or like Wild Girl?
4. When Wild Girl guesses the name of the
sandy square, Gran crows "Exactly".
Did Wild Girl really get the name right? How do you know?
How did Gran know? "The
World goes gleeful". Is the world
happy, or is Wild Girl? When you
are really happy, do people around you look happy? Does everything look happy? When you are sad, do people look sad?
5. The sea jumps up. Lilies nod their sleepy heads. Wild Girls shouts for the sparks on the
sea to hear. Can the lights on the
ocean hear? Can flowers be
tired? Can the seawater jump? Is nature alive?
6. Wild Girl "dreams sirens and red
lights". Was she just
dreaming? How can you tell if
something you dreamt was just a dream, or really happened? Can you?
7. Wild Girl cannot go see her Gran when
the person at the desk and the sign nearby shoo her away. What would you do if you were her? Would you do what the person said? Why? Would you do what the sign said? Why? Wild Girl
dreams about rescuing her
Gran. When you cannot do something
you want to do, do you dream about it?
8. Gran and Wild Girl rescue a baby
bird. The bird dies, and they bury
it together. Later, Wild Girl
wants to save Gran. If Wild Girl
did know how to save her, and could, could she keep saving her again and
again? How many times could she
keep saving Gran? What does Wild
Girl want to save Gran from? Did
Wild Girl and Gran really rescue the baby bird? Did they save it from something each day it lived? Was it worth it? Is Gran like the bird? How?
9. When did Gran die? Was she alive in the hospital? How can you tell? How do you know when someone dies? How do you know someone is alive?
10. When someone you love dies, parents can
say strange things. "It was God's
Will". "It's a blessing". Why do you think your parents would say
these things? How was Gran's death
a blessing? Does knowing this make
Wild Girl feel any better? Would
it make you feel any better? Do
you think it makes your parents feel any better? What other kinds of thing do your parents say when something
bad happens? Why do you think they
11. Wild Girl and her mother spread Gran's
ashes. Are Gran's ashes Gran
herself? Why would you say
that? What is Gran? Is Gran really gone? Where did she go? Did she go anywhere? Can you ever know where someone goes
when they die? How? Can Gran see Wild Girl on her tree at
the end of the story? Does
spreading Gran's ashes help Gran?
Does it help Wild Girl and her mother?
Gran and Wild Girl have a lot in common. What differences are there between Wild Girl and Gran? What do they have in common? What do you think Gran was like when
she was Wild Girl's age? When she
was as old as Wild Girl's mother?
Do you think she changed?
How? Is Gran still the same
person when she plays with Wild Girl as when she was a little girl? What will Wild Girl be like when she
gets older? Will she be like her
mother? Like Gran? Like herself, without change? How much like herself?
Guidelines For Discussion
questions I have written are to be taken as suggestions. These provide possible ways of
stimulating discussion pertaining to the various philosophical themes and
problems presented in the three books ("Space Case", "Why Do You Call Me
Chocolate Boy?", and "Wild Girl & Gran"). Given this, if I were to offer any advice on using these
questions, I would say be prepared to drop them and any planned topics you have
in order to follow the natural flow of discussion. While the ideas presented in these books are important, they
are not nearly so important as the cognitive skills being developed by
philosophical debate. If a
discussion on how one would be able to tell if someone was alive or not becomes
a discussion on whether or not anything can really last forever, then just go
with that discussion. Beyond that
mild suggestion I cannot offer any other guidelines than the questions I have
provided, and the obvious proposal that you read these three wonderful books.