Number of Pages:
Minimum grade level:
Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!
- "Life is a bowl of spaghetti . . . every now and then you get a meatball." Discuss the spaghetti and meatball aspects of Zinny Taylor's life.
- How many children are in your family? Where is your place in the birth order? Do you think birth order affects personality?
- Discuss Zinny's conflicted feelings about her large family. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of large families? Of small families?
- After Zinny discovers the path, she is driven to unravel the mystery of where it goes and what it represents. Have you ever discovered something that made you have to know more?
- At first Zinny can't believe that Jake Boone is interested in her. Why is this?
- What do you think about Jake's efforts to woo Zinny? How would you have reacted to his efforts?
- Why does Zinny blame herself for the deaths of Baby Rose and Aunt Jessie?
- Zinny is an enthusiastic collector. What are some of the things she collects? What does that say about her to you?
- What does clearing the trail represent for Zinny in her life?
- Zinny's contact with nature and the peace, space and quiet she finds outdoors help her sort out her buried feelings of grief. In what ways does the natural world help Zinny sort out her feelings?
Plant flowers in individual pots for book group members to take home. Plant from seed or small seedlings. Invite everyone to bring an example of something they collect and ask each person to talk about what is significant to them about the item.
Spaghetti and meatballs, of course!
Portions of this discussion guide are credited to 100 Books for Girls to Grow On by Shireen Dodson (HarperCollins, 1998).
Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.