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From the nearly disastrous flight to Los Angeles, through the spine-tingling horrors of Dracula’s Castle, to the suspenseful hours spent in the hands of a terrorist group, Liz Austen experiences a most exciting journey. Liz and her Aunt Melody become entangled in an international hostage-taking incident when a group of rebels from La Lucena use Fort Wilderness in Disneyland as their headquarters.
In many classrooms there will likely be a few students (or the teacher) who have visited either Disneyland or Disney World. Brochures, maps, photos and souvenirs of these popular tourist attractions can be used to arouse interest in the setting, particularly if accompanied by an exciting description from someone who has enjoyed the experience. For those who have been to Anaheim, there is a good chance that Universal Studios was on the itinerary. Again, descriptions, accompanied by visuals, will arouse interest in the setting, and in the whole business of how illusory the art of film-making has become.
Some discussion of what causes rebellious insurrections in countries like La Lucena (El Salvador and Nicaragua could be introduced as examples) would make the students aware of the kinds of issues which lead to terrorist activities.
- Why did Aunt Melody use "Elizabeth" instead of Liz when she suggested that Liz read her book?
- Why did Liz carry a key-ring which featured both a rabbit’s foot and a four-leaf clover?
- How did Liz plan to get revenge against Ramon?
- Why did the terrorists take away the captives’ shoes?
- Why did the Dragon release some of the hostages?
- How did the terrorists manage to sneak weapons into the fort?
- Why did the police hide a bug inside the CB radio they sent to the Dragon?
- What does the Spanish expression "Vaya Con Dios" mean?
- What three demands did the Dragon make to the police?
- Explain how Liz managed to escape from the bandage wrapped around her wrists.
- Discuss the role of women as pilots. Why do you suppose commercial pilots have traditionally been men?
- When Liz was eavesdropping on the conversation between the strange woman and her handsome friend, the man said, "Since you’ve failed, we must count on G. If that doesn’t work there’ll be other kids..." What do you think he was talking about?
- Why did the Dragon send the woman reporter out of the fort without allowing her to interview him?
- Why did the Dragon force the helicopter pilot to fly south instead of to the airport?
- Liz and Serena react in very different ways to being hostages. Give your opinion of each girl’s attitude and behavior.
- Senor Hernandez tells Liz she is fortunate to live in a peaceful country. If you agree, explain how we can keep the country peaceful. If you don’t agree, explain how you would make it peaceful.
- Prepare a report on political and social conditions in one or more Latin American countries. What causes these problems and what solutions can your suggest?
- Find out all you can about the special effects used in making films and television programs.
- Aunt Melody only used Liz’s full name when she was upset with her. (p. 10)
- Liz is very superstitious. (p. 11)
- Liz planned to put itching powder in Ramon’s clothes. (p. 41)
- The captives' shoes were taken in order to make them feel less like people. This gave the terrorists an advantage. (p. 68)
- There were too many hostages to be guarded by six people. (p. 69)
- They carried the guns hidden inside attaché cases. (p. 70)
- The police wanted to hear the Dragon when he made plans with his terrorists. (p. 79)
- "Vaya Con Dios" means "Go With God". (p. 92)
- The Dragon demanded (1) ten million dollars in gold, (2) the reading of a manifesto on radio and TV in La Lucena, (3) certain political prisoners to be released from prison and flown out of La Lucena. (p. 94)
- Liz flexed her wrists as Cody was tying them, then she relaxed her wrists and the bandage was loose. (p. 110)
11 through 18: answers will vary.
Copyright (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
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