Are you brave enough to escape the Maze of Doom? I guess we'll have to wait and see. Throughout the summer, I'll send you a problem. It's up to you to find the solution...and your way out of the maze. Good luck.
Your first strike hits the troll, and it stumbles backwards...
...but you missed four out of five questions, so you must correct them to defeat the troll and move on.
Excerpt from My Grandma Talley
by Nadine Oduo
1 “You still frettin’ about moving out of state ’cause of your mama’s job?” Grandma
Talley asked, swiping again at the fly and missing.
2 “Yes, ma’am. California’s so far away. Going to a new school, making new friends—it’s
scary. I can’t imagine not sitting here with you, listening to your stories.”
3 “I know, Kincaid, but things work out, most times better than we expect. You’ve got a
lotta memories to take with you. Just remember to keep ’em tucked inside your heart.”
4 “I wish I could stay with you forever,” I said, tears brimming in my eyes. I turned away
to stare at a doodlebug digging in the dirt, so Grandma Talley wouldn’t see.
5 “Don’t you worry. You’ll make new friends just fine.”
6 She was right about one thing. I’ve got a lotta memories. Like climbing up the old
chinaberry tree in our backyard. Baking teacakes and gingerbread in Grandma Talley’s old
wood stove. Sitting on the railroad tracks over Woman Hollering Creek with my best
friend Bennie Jewel, fishing with bamboo poles. I’ll cherish those memories forever.
7 I watched Grandma Talley squinting at the sun, making the large crow’s feet lining her
face resemble a patchwork quilt. I loved her wrinkles. I’ll remember every crease line and
fold in her face, for each one told of her life’s story.
8 A huge collie the color of peanut brittle appeared from the Johnson house next door,
yipping and yapping, trying to jump over the picket fence into the yard. Miz Moonlight
sprang from my arms and streaked up the trunk of Grandma Talley’s magnolia tree,
fragrant with giant pearl blossoms.
9 “Scat, get away from here now, causing trouble,” Grandma Talley scolded the dog. He
trotted off down the street, his tail between his legs, haunches low.
10 “Come on, let’s go inside. Got something to show you.” Grandma Talley rose from the
chair, holding onto her straw hat with one hand and picking up her wood cane with the
other. I followed her through the screen door, stopping for a moment to place the dirty
glasses in the kitchen sink, the pitcher of tea in the icebox.
11 She limped toward the hall closet, her cane tapping along the floor, me close on her
heels. She opened the closet door and placed her straw hat on the top shelf. She patted
down her spit-curled hair that had been mussed by her hat and began searching through
stacks of clutter on the closet floor.
12 “Grandmama never wrote much down, except for birthdays and deaths noted in the
old family Bible. No, Grandmama told her stories and gave me this.” Grandma Talley
smiled warmly, dragging out an old trunk. “A trunk full of precious memories.”
13 Inside the trunk were old clothes, a glittering jewelry box, family pictures, a huge
black Bible, handwritten letters scrawled on paper frayed and yellowed with age, and an
14 I sifted through the pictures and spotted one of a young woman in a 1920s teal
flapper’s dress, white leggings, button down shoes, and a spit-curl hairstyle.
15 “That’s you!” I squealed with delight.
16 “Yes, still wet behind the ears,” Grandma Talley chuckled.
17 “You look beautiful!” I gushed.
18 “Why, thank you. I think so too, I must say.” She grinned, opening the jewelry box.
She held up a pair of rose-colored earrings with a matching necklace of rainbow crystal
19 “These were given to me by Aunt Elnora for my sixteenth birthday,” she said. “I’ve
held on to ’em long enough. Here, you take them. They’re your going-away gift.” She
placed the jewelry into my hand, and her laughter floated through the house sweet as the
taste of jellybeans.
20 I clipped the earrings to my ears and draped the necklace around my neck. My eyes
surely sparkled as bright as my rose-colored earrings. “Thank you,” I mumbled. I wasn’t
wearing royal robes, only a T-shirt and flowered shorts, but I felt like a beautiful African
21 Grandma Talley gazed admiringly at me. “Our family’s made up of our ancestors—
grandfathers, grandmothers, my mother, father, sisters and brothers. You have some of
them inside you. Memories are a patchwork quilt of our lives, Kincaid, and it’s up to us to
choose which patches we stitch into it. I’ve taught you the way my grandma taught me,
like her grandmother before her, passing on our stories to those coming after us.”
22 Grandma Talley carefully lifted out a quilt and laid it on her bed. I sat on one of the
oak chairs next to her.
23 “When we tell our stories, we pass them on to the next generation and honor those
who came before us. Grandmama gave this to me when I was just about your age,” she
said, unfolding the quilt.
24 She held up the quilt that seemed old as time itself. “This was taken from my wedding
dress when I married your Grandpa Wilford,” she said touching a patch of satin the color
25 “This is from the dress in your photo,” I said, pointing out a teal patch.
26 “Yes. And one day you’ll give this quilt to your daughter, who’ll pass it on to her
daughter. Remember, Kincaid, we take our loved ones in our hearts wherever we go. I
won’t be more than a heartbeat away.” She smiled, hugging me tightly.
Siena: You got the first question correct. Good job! But you missed questions, 2, 3 and 4. Try them again. The place to write in your answers is below.
1. Which information helps the reader understand the meaning of “cherish” in paragraph 6?
A. Kincaid’s memories are of happy times. (You got this one right. The answer is "A." So you don't have to do this one.)
2. Based on paragraphs 12 through 19, which sentence best explains the difference in the characters’ reactions to the objects in the trunk?
A. The objects seem ragged to one character, while to the other character, they seem new.
B. The objects seem to be costly to one character, while to the other character, they seem to be inexpensive.
C. The objects are familiar reminders to one character, while to the other character, they are exciting discoveries.
D. The objects are family treasures to one character, while to the other character, they are personal belongings.
3. In paragraph 19, what does the narrator mean when she says, “her laughter floated through the house sweet as the taste of jellybeans”?
A. The laughter reminds Kincaid of the candy Grandma Talley keeps at her house.
B. The sound of Grandma Talley’s laughter gives Kincaid a light and pleasant feeling.
C. The sound of Grandma Talley’s laughter can be enjoyed by others inside the house.
D. The laughter reminds Kincaid of how kind and thoughtful Grandma Talley has always been.
4. Which words from the story best show Grandma Talley’s sense of humor?
A. “Scat, get away from here now, causing trouble,” (paragraph 9)
B. “Grandma Talley smiled warmly, dragging out an old trunk.” (paragraph 12)
C. “Yes, still wet behind the ears,” (paragraph 16)
D. “She smiled, hugging me tightly.” (paragraph 26)
Entrance to the Maze of Doom
Beware all who enter.
You enter the maze.
It's dark, with only enough light to see what's right in front of you. You step in and slowly follow the path.
To defeat the troll, answer the questions below...