'Willodeen' Book Club Read-Along Day 1!By: OwlCrate Jr
"It's best for all concerned if you simply go ahead and be what you're meant to be. Saves valuable time."
Welcome friends, to Day 1 of our book club read-along for OwlCrate Jr's September book, Willodeen by Katherine Applegate!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER FILLED discussion for Chapters 1-15 of Willodeen.
Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box! We’ll be selecting three winners this time around, so make sure you join in for each post!
The story so far...
We start by meeting a little creature who appears on a horse on the old carousel in the village of Perchance. She does not yet know herself well, so she decides to wait. The creature has been made by a boy, crafting her into existence. She is also the friend of a wise young girl.
Willodeen loves the unlovable creatures, especially screechers, which the rest of her town consider smelly pests. She saw her first one when she was six with her pa: a mother and her babies. Just weeks later, Willodeen lost her pa, ma and brother in the Great September Fire and was taken in by two kind neighbour women, Birdie and Mae.
Once she was healed from the fire, Birdie and Mae set Willodeen free to roam, allowing her to spend her days wandering alone in the woods with her hummingbear, Duuzuu. Duuzuu was also injured in the fire and nursed back to health by Birdie and Mae, but they aren't able to fly much anymore and prefer Willodeen's company to the other hummingbears who migrate to the woods every year.
The village of Perchance’s economy depends on the hummingbears, who nest in the blue willows on the riverbank, which the town celebrates with an Autumn Faire! But more and more, year after year, fewer and fewer hummingbears are arriving. This of course concerns Willodeen, but more concerning to her is that the screechers have all but disappeared...
When Willodeen was healing, Mae and Birdie gave her a notebook and pen, and now she keeps the habit of drawing and counting everything. Through the years she has carefully observed the screechers and gotten to know and recognize their whole community. Unfortunately, one year after a screecher got into the garbage during the Autumn Faire the town enacted a bounty on them! For simply being hungry!
Eventually Willodeen determines that there is only one screecher left, an old one she calls Sir Zurt. She is observing him one day when a hunter hits him with an arrow! She helps him run and begs the hunters to stop. Picking up one of the nasty arrows from the ground, Willodeen refuses to give it back and flees!
At the bottom of the hill she throws the arrow into the bushes, accidentally hitting a boy, Connor. She tells him about the injured screecher and although she’d rather go alone to check on it, they go together with his lantern and find the poor dead creature. The very last one. Back at home, Willodeen cries and although they’re not her true family, it feels good to be held by Birdie and Mae.
The next morning is Willodeen’s eleventh birthday and although she doesn’t expect anything, Mae and Birdie have made her a cake! While outside collecting firewood, Willodeen finds that Connor has left her one of his 'puzzlers', a little carved statue that looks exactly like a beautiful screecher.
They have the cake for breakfast, but when Mae and Birdie tell her to make a wish she thinks of Sir Zurt and starts to cry. Angry tears this time. They tell her there is magic in angry tears. She can't think of a wish, but does think "If only angry tears did hold magic."
After breakfast, stuffed with cake, Willodeen goes outside to do chores only to find Connor petting their goat. She awkwardly thanks him for the gift but that's not why he's there. He tells her about a copse of blue willow trees where there is an abandoned hummingbear den, and that maybe they could go together to check for screechers. He follows her inside (much to her chagrin) and Mae and Birdie are very excited to meet the screecher artist! He tells them he has to go attend a town council meeting (his father likes him to) and they suggest (to Willodeen's horror) that she goes with him. They want her to speak up for the screechers and harness her anger. This is NOT how she wanted to spend her birthday.
Thank you for joining in day on of our book club! Don't forget to answer the discussion questions for your chance to win a free OwlCrate Jr box!
- If you could have a creature friend like Duuzuu, what type of creature would you like it to be?
- Where do you think the little creature who appeared on the back of the carousel horse came from? How do you think that little creature is going to tie into Willodeen's story?
- Why do you think the creatures are slowly disappearing from the town?
- What do you think it going to happen at the council meeting?
See you again on Friday as we discuss Chapters 16 - 27!