Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Main Page
Author List
Title List
New This Month
Interest Level
Subject List
Booktalking Tips
Book Review Sources
Reading lists
Nancy Keane's Children's Website
Woodruff, Elvira.
New York : Scholastic, 2003.
IL 3-6, RL 6.0
ISBN 0439281334

(3 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

The year is 1735 and Forrest Harper is the son of a prison guard and Ravenmaster at the Tower of London.  A ravenmaster takes care of the ravens that live within the prison.  To become a ravenmaster is not easy because in order to understand the ravens, you must first gain their trust.  Eleven year old Forrest has a pet raven named Tuck.  Living within the walls of this prison is very lonely for Forrest.  But he has his family, his raven, Tuck, and the friendship of Ned, a young chimney sweep.  But that is still not enough for Forrest.  He dreams of someday leaving the prison walls and towers.  When Forrest hears that captured Scottish rebels will be coming to his prison, he is thrilled.  He will see firsthand the dangerous and hated Scots who are to be executed.  One of the prisoners is a girl about Forrest’s age.   Forrest’s job is to take food to this rebel.  Her name is Maddy and as Forrest learns more about her, he learns that the Scots are not monsters and he becomes friends with her.  When he learns that Maddy will be executed, he must decide whether to risk being a traitor to his family and country or to ignore what he feels is right.   Forrest is faced with a moral dilemma that even most adults would have a hard time trying to figure out.  To find out Forrest’s decision and to get a glimpse of what life was like in London during this time, read “The Ravenmaster’s Secret” by Elvira Woodruff.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face committee, 2005-2006)

Booktalk #2

Eleven year old Forrest lives at the Tower of London, which in 1735 has a jail and execution grounds. His job is to help his father, the Ravenmaster, take food to the prisoners and tend the Tower birds. However, when their newest prisoner turns out to be the young daughter of a Scottish rebel, Forrest begins to question the terrible things he's always heard about Scots. He befriends Maddy, and when her father and uncle are murdered trying to escape, he swears to help her escape, despite an inevitable treason conviction if he's caught.  Black-eyed Susan Award nominee 2005-2006

Booktalk #3

London, 1735
                  Eleven-year-old Forrest Harper lives with his family at the Tower of London. Forrest helps the ravenmaster, Forrest’s dad, to tend to the ravens and to guard prisoners at the tower. When Forrest finds out that there newest prisoner is a Scottish Rebel, Forrest can’t wait to stand guard to prove his loyalty and courage.
         But the prisoner turns out to be Maddy, an eleven-year-old girl. As Forrest tends to her, they become friends. When Forrest finds out that she is slated for execution, he is left with a choice: should he let his friend die, or should he and his friend Rat help her escape? Will Forrest solve his dilemma?

This book is a great story especially if you like the middle ages or adventure books.
I recommend it!  (Hunter Widmer, Meeker Elementary)

SUBJECTS:     Tower of London (London, England) -- History -- 18th century -- Fiction.
                        Jacobites -- Fiction.
                        Ravens -- Fiction.
                        Prisoners -- Fiction.
                        London (England) -- History -- 18th century -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.