Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Kidnappers

Simon & Schuster 2016. 200 pages
First published: 1998
ISBN: 9781481449045 (paperback)
9781481449052 (hardcover)
9781481449069 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Mystery

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, language conventions, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Joey Bishop didn’t want to get smashed by Willie Groves III after school. But he didn’t want Willie kidnapped either. In one swoop, the plot transforms bully into victim, to create a rich ambivalence: “I didn’t want to think about possible torture. Making up such things in adventure stories was one thing; having it happen to anyone I knew was something else.”

Direct language depicts a setting of wealth and opulence, though the eyes of a child (“It was a family crest or something … the car was a Chrysler New Yorker like my grandma Louise’s”), while sowing an atmosphere of danger and suspense: “The dinosaurs must have felt like this when the glaciers swept over them, burying them in ice, cutting off their oxygen.”

Quick thinking, cooperation and an exciting escape sequence finish this tale of truth and falsehoods, where a friend is not who he seems—but then, neither is the enemy: “Everybody exploded in relieved laughter and Willie threw an arm around my shoulders.”

  •  

    Discuss why someone would turn to a life of crime rather than earn an honest living.

  •  

    The main character is not able to convince others that he is telling the truth because he has a reputation for making up stories. How is this story similar to Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and what do both stories tell you about honesty?

  •  Willie is a bully who becomes a victim. Discuss how this changes Joe’s perspective about him.
  •  

    Joe and Willie have to combine their skills and talents to escape from the bedroom. Write a story in which two people must team up to overcome a major obstacle.

  •  

    Explore the book cover. Discuss the words that could help you understand the context. Make a class list of words related to kidnapping and organize them into a mind map. Expand this map as you read.

  •  

    As a group, discuss the elements of the story. Where and when does it take place? Create a story map to show how the story develops.

  •  

    Discuss the roles and traits of the different characters in the book. How do they evolve in the story? How are you similar to one or several of them?

  •  

    In small teams, use the story map to write a kidnapping story in the same style as the book. Use dialogue to create a Reader’s Theatre or play. Create a short video and have a movie showing.

  •  Participate in a graffiti activity to elicit vocabulary regarding what you know about living in a big city, living in an apartment building and attending a private school.
  •  

    In small groups, discuss the parts of the story that you felt were most surprising. Take turns sharing your opinions.

  •  

    Watch a video clip of Aesop's fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Find a creative way to compare and contrast the two main characters of these stories.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Drama
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Science and Technology