The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush
by S. Jones Rogan
pictures by Christian Slade
About the book:
Penhaligon Brush is bored by his perfect existence at Ramble-on-the-Water as the town’s apothecary. When a strange letter arrives from his brother, Penhaligon sets out on a true old-fashioned adventure full of intrigue, suspense and imagination. Penhaligon must foil the evil nephew of Lady Ferbal, Derek, before he runs the wedding ship aground of the crown prince to steal the bounty. Will Penhaligon be able to outwit those who imprison his brother? Can he stop the evil Derek? A cast of compelling animal characters will steal the hearts of young readers as they cheer for good to triumph over evil in this land of intricate make believe. This is the perfect story to explore the literary elements of character and setting as readers will be captivated by both in this charming tale.
Just by studying the cover of the book what kind of story do you think it will be about? Are the main characters animals or human? What type of adventures do you think they will have? Who do you think will be the villain? What makes you think so? What are some elements that all adventure stories have in common?
Read the letter that opens the novel and create questions that you hope the story will answer. For example: Why does Mawgan decide to leave his son Penhaligon behind? Is it a dangerous journey they went on?
- The letter and the first chapter are several years apart in time. Why do you think the author decided to play with time in this story? How do you know when time has passed when you’re reading a novel? What are some word clues that authors use to let you know that you have changed time or place?
- Describe Penhaligon’s life in Ramble-on-the-water. What do you think of his career? Does it sound like a nice life or not? Why does he say, “Everything’s right; that’s the problem” (p. 9) Do you ever feel this way?
- One way to get to know a character is to study what they find important. What is important to Penhaligon? How do you know? What details does the author give about his main character so we get to know him? What makes an interesting main character for you?
- How does the adventure begin? Is Penhaligon excited about his trip to his brother’s house? What does he find when he first arrives in Porthleven? What would you do if you were Penhaligon? What does he learn from the Hotchi-Witchi family?
- Who is the cause of all the troubles in Porthleven? Do you think he is the antagonist of the story? What makes a good villain? How does Penhaligon hope to make a difference?
- Do Bancroft and Penhaligon face the same fate? What do they learn is the ultimate plan of Derek? How do they hope to stop him? Who will help the brothers in their quest to stop him?
- Describe Rowan. How do she and Penhaligon get along? Why is Penhaligon so distrustful of her? What things do they have in common? How are they different? Is it good to have friends that are the same as you or different from you? Why?
- Discuss how Penhaligon’s preconceptions for the Romany wolves make it difficult for him to trust even those that he should. How do we overcome preconceptions and prejudices of others?
- What tasks must the heroes complete to foil Derek’s evil plan against the crown prince? Who do you think is the bravest member of the team? Why? How do the characters surprise each other and themselves? Who do you think is changed most by the events in the story? What makes you choose them? How does each member contribute to Derek’s defeat?
- How does Derek justify his plan believing he is not stealing but only salvaging materials? Lady Ferbal says that her nephew was given “Not enough attention and too much indulgence” (p147) Does this ever happen with children today? How do Derek’s laziness and other flaws contribute to his undoing?
- Describe how the relationship between Penhaligon and Rowan change over the course of their adventure. How do they surprise each other? What do they learn from one another? In the end, what do they become to each other?
- In the end, what does Penhaligon discover about himself through the secrets of his family? Do you think they were wrong to hide the truth from him? How would his life have been different if the people of Ramble on the Water have known? Do you think they will accept him now that he’s a hero? Do the characters live “happily ever after” or not? Why?
There are four ways that a reader gets to know a character- by how they act and look, what they say and do, how they treat other characters, and how other characters treat them. As you read the novel, make notes (with page numbers) on each of these characters and what you learn about them. Discuss your choices
How they act/look
What they say/do
How they speak to and treat others
How others speak to and treat them
Mr. Hotchi Witchi
Donald and Dora
Character rating chart:
Choose one of the characters from the novel to explore in depth. Color in the squares that show the qualities of the character in the novel. Be prepared to give examples that prove your opinions.