The Water Castle

It is Mark Twain Monday!

Here is the nominee discussion questions and overview of the week:

The Water Castle

By: Megan Frazer Blakemore 

Book Overview 

Provided by: Amazon

Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father's stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle--their ancestral home in the small town of Crystal Springs. 

There he meets Mallory Green's family who has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle--and the guardians of the legendary Fountain of Youth, hidden on the estate grounds. 

When Ephraim learns of the Fountain, he's sure finding it can cure his dad. Told in alternate perspectives, the kids try to solve the mystery of the fountain of youth to try and save Ephraim's dad. 

My Thoughts 

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. With its flashbacks and alternate perspectives, it makes this book very sophisticated for a middle grade novel.  A majority of the book flashes back to 1909 to the families ancestor's story of how they struggled to find the fountain of youth. With this, it also details the character's interest in the exploration of the north pole in 1909. I thought this was a very sneaky way to teach kids about this exploration history. With that being said, I think this book would be  great pair to non-fiction books on this subject manner.

NEW Polar Explorers for Kids: Historic Expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic w

The Exploration of the North and South Poles

Here are some other lessons you could pair with it as well.

Explorer Activities & Lessons

Who Got to the North Pole First?

Antarctica Printables & Worksheets

Overall, I felt like this book was a fun read. I liked its history content, and I enjoyed the fun fantasy element as the kids try to find the fountain of youth.

Discussion Questions 

The explorer Robert Peary had a motto, “I shall find a way or make one.” What does this mean? Is there a time in the book where the characters go by this motto?

If the fountain of youth was real, would you use it? What would be the consequences? Do you think that it is real?

What makes Crystal Springs different?

Henry claims that “every story has a purpose.” Is this true? What are some examples to support or to not support this claim? Does this story have a purpose?

In the book there is a disagreement about who reached the north pole first. Does it matter who was first? Would it have been better if they worked together to reach this goal?

The kids in this book find radioactive water in their home. This is very dangerous!!! If you found this in your home what would you do? What should the characters have done?

The Water Castle was built differently than a normal home. Why was it built this way? If you could design your own home, how would you build it?

The kids believed that Will & Ephraim were saved by their fall due to the power of the water. Was it the water that saved them or was it something else?

Why was there a family feud between Will’s family & the Appledores? Why did their fight last for so long? How should they have resolved it?

The end of the book left many questions. Do you think that Harry & Nora are Mallory’s parents? Is Ephraim’s dad better because of the water? What do you think will happen to the families now? Will Ephraim’s family go back to Cambridge? If you could write a second book for The Water Castle, what would you like to happen?

More Books Like This One 

Until Next Time,


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