Rowan of Rin


Emily Rodda

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No one would pick Rowan to go on a quest. He's always been shy. He takes care of the big, tame, woolly bukshah, even though that's supposed to be a job for kids much younger than he is. But now there's a danger, to the bukshah, Rowan, and everyone else in the village. The stream that flows down from the mountain has stopped flowing. There's no water, and everyone's sure it's because of the dragon at the top of the mountain.

The village picks the strongest and bravest people to climb the mountain. Of course, Rowan isn't among them. But it turns out that Rowan has to go. He has no choice - the map that shows the only path up the treacherous mountain is only visible when he is holding it.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Why does Strong Jonn call Rowan "little rabbit?"
  2. Why do you think Rowan is so timid and fearful? Why does he prefer to be with the bukshah?
  3. Why does the Wise Woman Sheba enchant the map so the villagers are forced to take Rowan with them?
  4. When Rowan's mother sees the wound caused by the map of the mountain what does she do (Chapter 3)? Is this the way you expect a mother to act towards her son? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think the people of Rin want to hide their feelings?
  6. On pages 27-30, the story of Allun is told. He is a "mixed-blood" child, both Traveler and Rin. Which community would you choose to live in? Why?
  7. On the journey, we learn of the fears that "break" each villager's heart. What is Rowan's fear, and how is his different from those of the other villagers?
  8. After Ellis, Val and Bronden return to Rin, Rowan notices that he feels more relaxed. Why? What were the characteristics about those three that made the others so uncomfortable? What is it about Allun in particular that makes Rowan feel at ease?
  9. Which of the puzzle rhymes did you like the most? Why? What skills did the villagers need in order to solve them?
  10. When you first began reading, did you believe that the Dragon of the mountain was really a dragon? Who did you think would be the "bravest heart?" Why? Did your views change?
  11. What were Rowan's qualities that made him the "bravest heart?" Do you think Rowan was changed by his journey? Did the perceptions the other villagers had about Rowan change? How did Rowan change?

If you liked this book, try

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • Rowan and the Zedak by Emily Rodda
  • Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye

Snack Ideas

Bread and cheese; cool, clear water

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.