Leepike Ridge



Last updated Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Author: N. D. Wilson
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 0375838732
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2009

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Tom Hammond lives with his widowed mother in a windblown old house chained to the top of a gigantic rock. One night, unable to sleep, he heads down to the stream that borders their property, where he has left a heavy piece of refrigerator packing foam. What starts out as aimless drifting down quiet water turns deadly when Tom's foam slab feeds into the rougher mountain water and he is pulled under a rock, ending up in an underwater cavern. The secrets he discovers while attempting to find his way out of the mountain caves are surprising, yet seamlessly executed. While Leepike Ridge is primarily an adventure story involving murder, treachery, and betrayal, Wilson's rich imagination and his quirky characters are a true delight. Tom's feisty mother will not believe that her son has drowned despite the evidence to the contrary, and her run-ins with various townspeople are jewels in themselves. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep both seasoned and reluctant readers turning the pages. Think Mark Twain with a contemporary and utterly captivating twist.

Note to readers:
•  Read the book jacket and start with chapter two, through chapter three. If you have time, skip chapter four and read through five, six and seven. (As much as you can).

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where do you think he is standing?
•  Is anyone afraid of heights?
•  Where do you think the house is?
•  Do things look different if you are standing up on something/from a height?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Can you swim?
•  What supplies would you carry if you went into a cave?
•  Have you ever been rafting? What did you take on the raft?

Craft ideas:
•  Word Search or Cross Word for Leepike Ridge. Words–Leepike; Ridge; Wilson; Environment; Earth; Corpse; Treasure; Raft; Refrigerator; Dog; Stream; Current; Underground; River. This is not meant to be an individual activity. Find a way to make it interactive (form teams, do as a group, etc.).
•  ACTIVITY: Play charades with the kids based on the book. Divide the kids into 2 or more groups.. Use the words in the Word Search or make others. Write them on a piece of paper and have one person from each group act out the word. Let them know they can’t say the words or the hints.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!