Saturday, April 13, 2013

Itch, The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter by Simon Mayo




1. Do you think Itch’s mom overreacts to his science mishap when he burns off his eyebrows? Why do you think she allows him to set up his lab in the backyard shed?

2. Arsenic wallpaper, radioactive clock hands, and gunpowder—all of these are dangerous. Should Cake have sold them to Itch? Explain your answer.

3. Do you consider Dr. Flowerdew more of a bully than Bruno, James, and Darcy? How are they similar and how are they different?

4. Itch’s dad gave him The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, which originally belonged to Itch’s grandfather. How might that have influenced Itch’s hobby as an element collector?

5. Were Itch and Jack justified in stealing back element 126 from Dr. Flowerdew’s home? Would you have tried to do that? If so, would you have done anything differently?

6. Did Itch’s actions make his family closer or pull them apart? Why?

7. When Mr. Van Den Hauwe from Greencorps says, “…we could be on the verge of a new gold rush,” (p. 221) what does he mean? What global implications does this new element have, and why might Greencorps be the wrong company to get hold of this dangerous substance? Who would you like to see control element 126?

8. If you were in Itch’s position, would you want to leave the rocks in the spoil heap as Jack suggests, or make the same choice as Itch and take them with you?

9. Itch is passionate about collecting elements, and when he discovers element 126, he takes a lot of risks for his hobby. What are you so passionate about that you would push the limits as far as Itch does?

10. After Itch successfully disposes of element 126, he loses consciousness. Yet he is later found at a hospital—and with a tag correctly marking him as radioactive. Who do you think his mysterious rescuer is, and why?

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