Swiss Family Robinson Unit - Chapter 1

This is the first in a series of lessons to use in conjunction with The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss.

About the Book: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss is a young readers' classic. It first appeared in English in 1813. The novel's main characters are Pastor Robinson and his wife and their four sons. They are shipwrecked on an island somewhere in the far southwestern Pacific. After the Robinsons took the animals and supplies from the shipwreck, they built an elaborate settlement on the island that they eventually called "New Switzerland."

Vocabulary for Chapter One:

tempest
fortitude
fore-part
problematical
gale
vehement
contrivance
spar
lever
mastiff
hogshead
flamingoe
penguins
forage
mutton
oysters
mussel
agouti


Questions:

1. The first sentence of the first chapter begins, “For many days we had been tempest-tossed.” How many days?

2. What were the names of the four sons in the family?

3. What was the one thing that brought comfort to the family during the storm?

4. When the storm was over and each family member went to get what might be most useful for them to escape with, where did each family member head? Do you think this says something of what their characters might develop into later in the story?

5. What was the first thing the family did after reaching shore?

6. What scared Jack so badly in the tidal pool?

7. What convinced father that they were near the equator?



Thus far you have read some description of the characters, both physical and of their personalities. Have the descriptions given you enough to picture them in your mind or would you like to have better descriptions? From what you have been told in the story up to this point, draw a picture of the Robinson family.

Draw a picture, or make a diorama, or make a model of the vessel that the Robinson family built to get them from the ship wrecked boat to the shore.


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