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Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

Jeremy Gates and the Magic Key

By Janet Craig James

Theme: Social Relationships, Young Adult

Jeremy Gates and the Magic Key

This book is a fictionalized account of how the first newspaper began in Halifax in 1752. In the beginning, the book lists who are actual characters from history and which ones are fictional. Nevertheless, all the characters come to life in the story, and altogether the book is full of adventure and drama.

Twelve-year-old Jeremy Gates has been orphaned in a house fire that set off an explosion of gunpowder. His parents died, and Jeremy, badly injured, is nursed back to health by friends. He overhears his hosts arguing about whether they can keep him, and he quietly decides to leave and find his own way. He does not want to take "charity" from anyone.

Jeremy has two driving motivations. He is determined to make it on his own and also to find some way to learn to read. He leaves the Amhersts who were looking after him but on the streets of Halifax he meets a new friend, Pug. They decide to stick together, but Jeremy is kidnapped and taken aboard a ship. To his surprise, he discovers Pug came on board as a stowaway--confirmation of Pug's friendship.

The two end up together on the streets of Boston after the ship docks there in a storm. By chance they find the Bushnells, who are newspaper publishers in Boston, and through them Jeremy's dream of learning to read comes true. Not only that, he has a chance to learn how to set type and to return to Halifax and help print the first newspaper there.


These questions apply to four books:
Jeremy Gates and the Magic Key
You Don't Mess with Mozart
Riding High
Patrick and the Actors

1. In these four books, which two characters, or groupings of characters, have the most genuine friendship? Explain your choice.

2. Write a paragraph or two to describe the relationship between Corrie and Crystal in Riding High.

3. In what way was Corrie important to Meg's accomplishments?

4. What technique did the author use in Patrick and the Actors to create suspense?

5. In Mozart, Bronwyn and Megan had very different families. How did that affect their friendship? Do you think it is easier to be friends with someone who is similar or different from you?

6. Explain how conflict in the relationships of the characters affects the development of the story plots in each of these books.

7. Choose one of these four books and write a different ending.

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

All contents © Penumbra Press and Northward Journal Communications Limited
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