“Let arms be still and voices low,
A million eyes watch as you go.
The silken door your pathway ends,
There fire and light will be your friends.
Then see yourself as others may,
And catch noon’s eye to clear your way.”
In Emily Rodda’s Rowan of Rin, seven companions journey to the Mountain to discover why the stream has stopped flowing to their village. Before they leave, the Wise Woman makes a prophesy and gives them a magical map. The map reveals new words of advice at each stage of the quest.
Asking questions and making predictions based on their own experiences and on clues in the text are key reading comprehension strategies for kids. The cryptic prophesies in this story invite young readers to guess what’s coming next. What is the silken door? A curtain? A spider web? Who is the bravest one who will finish the quest alone? Sometimes their guesses turn out to be right, and other times they realize only later what the clues meant. That process of predicting and revising their predictions makes them active and engaged readers.
Larrabee chose this book based on a Bookshop Santa Cruz recommendation (using the gift certificate from their reading contest), and he’s glad he did. We’re looking forward to the other four books in this fantasy series.