Stone Fox

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A Race Against Time

Little Willy's grandfather is sick, and it's up to Willy to save their farm from tax collectors. Their only hope is the prize money from the National Dogsled Race. But a lot of other people want to win the race, too, including Stone Fox, who has never lost a race in his life.

Do Willy and his dog Searchlight stand a chance against the toughest racers around? Can they win the race to save the farm -- and Grandfather -- before it's too late?

Curriculet Details
19 Questions
23 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring character development and emerging theme, as well as annotations describing key vocabulary, point of view and story structure. Students will explore the themes of determination, heroism and grandparent/grandchild relationships. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Stone Fox is the story of a ten-year old boy named Little Willy. He lives with his grandfather who is sick and bedridden. Willy is very close to his Grandfather, and he is determined to find a way to save his life. The story takes place in Wyoming during the time of the American Old West. 
As you read the story, you will be asked to describe the characters, including their traits, motivations and feelings, and explain how their actions contribute to the plot. The video clip below will help you understand how characters develop.  (This annotation contains a video)
Before Willy's grandfather got sick, he could be described as _________.  
The highlighted passage describes Grandfather's illness which is referred to as depression in modern times.  
Based on Willy's words in the highlighted passage, he can be described as _________.  


A harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. In Stone Fox, Willy's grandfather grows potatoes and sells them after they are harvested. The image below shows a farmer harvesting potatoes by removing them from the ground.  (This annotation contains an image)
What discovery did little Willy make about Grandfather?  
A plow is a farm machine used to cut, lift and turn over soil. The image shows a farmer plowing a field.  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain how Willy's dog, Searchlight, can be described as a hero?  
As you read the story, pay close attention to the illustrations. Think about how the illustrations contribute to the message being conveyed by the words in the story. For example, how does the illustration create a mood or emphasize aspects of a character or setting?  


Have you noticed any important messages, lessons or morals developing in the story? As you read, think about the central message or theme(s) that are emerging in the story. The video below will explain the concept of an emerging theme or central idea.  (This annotation contains a video)
How would you describe the way Willy thinks of his dog, Searchlight?  
The phrase, "Why, they didn't know a potato from a peanut," is an example of nonliteral or figurative language. For example, the "city slickers" could most likely distinguish between a potato and peanut, but the phrase indicates that they do not know anything about crops or farming because they live in a city. as opposed to a rural area. The video clip below will explain the concept of literal and nonliteral (figurative) language. As you read, look for examples of both types of language.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following is an activity that Willy and Searchlight do for fun?  
Quiz 1 


Each chapter in Stone Fox has a title. Have you noticed how each chapter builds on the previous chapters? Why do you think Chapter Four is titled "The Reason?" What event is Willy trying to determine a reason for?  
Clifford Snyder can be described as ________.  
When Clifford Snyder says, "You're no better than other folks," he indicates that Grandfather refuses to pay taxes because he thinks he is better than everyone else, and he is above the law. Do you think that is why Grandfather hasn't paid the tax bill? What could be another reason why he hasn't paid?  
In Chapter Four, Willy discovers the reason why Grandfather is sick and depressed. Explain the reason.  


Think about the meaning of the popular phrase, "Where there's a will, there's a way." Have you ever used this phrase? What problem were you trying to solve? Did you find a way to solve it?  
Why is Chapter Five titled, "The Way?" 
The highlighted sentences reveal Willy's determination to find a way to raise enough money to pay the tax bill, so Grandfather will get better. Willy's determination is a central message in the story. Think of a time when you were determined to do something. Did your determination help you succeed?  
Which of the following is not one of the strategies Willy thought of to earn the money to pay Grandfather's tax bill?  


Mr. Foster is trying to discourage Willy from entering the race, but Willy remains determined to enter the race and win it. Think of a time when someone discouraged you. Did you give up or keep trying?  
Which of the following sentences from Chapter Six contains non-literal language?  
Moccasins are shoes made of soft leather, typically deerskin, worn by North American Indians. The image shows a Native American wearing tall mocassins, like the ones Stone Fox is wearing.  (This annotation contains an image)
Examine the illustration of Stone Fox and Little Willy on the previous page. Describe the aspects of Stone Fox that are conveyed in the image.  
The Shoshone Indians were a small Native American tribe, of about 8,000 members, that occupied land both east and west of the Rocky Mountains. These Native Americans were people who traveled throughout the Snake River area in Idaho, as well as parts of California, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Montana. They were called the "snake Indians" and sometimes they were called "diggers" because they needed to dig for food, such as roots from the ground. The image below shows a Shoshone tribe.  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz 2 


As you read Stone Fox, think about the point of view of the characters. Do you often share the same attitudes and beliefs of the characters, or is your point of view different?  
What is Doc Smith's point of view in regards to Willy entering the race?  
Do you think it is wise of Willy to investigate the deserted barn? What do you think he will find in there? Make a prediction before you continue reading.  
How do you feel about Stone Fox? Why do you think he hit Willy?  


Little Willy takes very good care of Grandfather, and is determined to save his life. Have you noticed a theme emerging in the story regarding Willy and Grandfather?  
Read the highlighted paragraph and look at the illustration in Chapter Eight of the race starting line. What mood is conveyed by the words and the illustration?  
LIttle Willy lied about how he got a black eye. Why do you suppose he didn't tell the truth about Stone Fox hitting him? Do you think he was trying to protect Stone Fox so he doesn't get in trouble for hitting a child?  
As the race is about to begin, Willy is feeling _________.  


The video clip below will help you to better understand the sport of dogsled racing and all of the hard work that the sport entails.  (This annotation contains a video)
Willy was so excited when Grandfather sat up in bed to watch the race. Describe the relationship between Willy and his Grandfather. Include examples from the story to explain how they care for and support each other.  
Did you notice a strategy that Stone Fox is using to win the race?  
What it meant by the phrase,"she poured on the steam."  


The story has taken a tragic turn with the death of Searchlight. However, Searchlight died a hero because he gave his all with bravery and determination.  
Quiz 3 
In what way are Willy and Searchlight similar?  
Are you surprised that Stone Fox helped Willy and Searchlight win the race? Have your feelings about Stone Fox changed?