Walls Within Walls

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After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable.

And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment: The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels—a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today's New York City—and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.

Maureen Sherry's page-turning debut novel is filled with adventure, intrigue, and heart.

Curriculet Details
58 Questions
48 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining author’s use of dialogue to explain unknown words, figurative language, and various facts and information related to the setting in New York City. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about irony and suspense. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of point of view, inferences related to direct quotations, and theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Personification is when an author gives human-like qualities to something that is not human. The air conditioner "grumbled" is a good example! Watch this video to learn more about personification. (This annotation contains a video)
This is a picture of what the Smithfork's brownstone house might have looked like. Each section in a brownstone belongs to a different family. (This annotation contains an image)
How did Mr. Smithfork's hobby help the family become millionaires? 

Chapter 2

Look back at the picture on the previous page. After reading the first paragraph of chapter 2, why do you think the author chose to put the picture first? 
When you are reading a book in Curriculet, and you come to a word you don't know, you can click and hold on the word. A box will pop up and you can click "Define" to get the definition of the word. Try using the define tool with the word "deferential" so we will know more about how CJ is acting. You should use this tool often! 
Why don't CJ and Brid want Patrick to tell Maricel about what they've found behind the wall? 

Chapter 3

From the details in this section, we can tell that 
This is what the old book might have looked like! (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 4

Sometimes authors include interesting details that make us suspicious of certain characters. Lukas and Lily both act and speak like grown-ups. Would you feel "squirmy and uncomfortable" around them? 
According to the context clues the author provides in this sentence, we can infer that "fetes" means 
How does the dialogue between the Smithforks and the Williamsons help us understand the differences between them? 
This section is a great example of situational irony. Watch this video and think about why these events illustrate situational irony. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author create a sense of mystery at this point in the story? 

Chapter 5

A "last will and testament" is a legal document that states who will get to have someone's money and/or property after they die. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Brid and CJ want to ask the Williamsons about the key? 

Chapter 6

What can we conclude after reading this page? 
A salon was a gathering hosted by an influential person who wanted to entertain and increase guests' knowledge by having conversations. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 7

Which quote best supports the inference that Brid and CJ would not want to attend a boarding school? 
Watch this short video to tour Grant's Tomb before Brid, Pat, and CJ do! (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 8

How does Patrick's discovery on the back of the book change the direction of the story? 

Chapter 9

How is the mood felt in the Smithfork home different than the Williamson home? 
Did you notice how the author used a term we may have never heard before, "white elephant," and through the dialogue between Brid and CJ we get the meaning of the phrase? Authors often teach us new terms and phrases when characters are talking to each other. Good readers always pay close attention to dialogue. 
Sometimes authors add little details that make the reader suspicious about an event or a character. Does this sentence make you suspicious about anything? 

Chapter 10

Which word best describes CJ in this section? 
How does Pat's point of view influence the events in this section? 
In this section the kids share several theories about why Mr. Post would have hidden his riches. What is your theory at this point? 

Chapter 11

Below is a picture of a dumbwaiter.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which quote from this page is a good example of personification? 
The author uses specific details to help us picture Ray, the elevator operator. Here is a picture of another elevator operator. What similarities and differences do you notice? (This annotation contains an image)
How does this information fit with the scene when the lady from downstairs came to meet the Smithforks? 

Chapter 12

How does Brid's opinion of the DigiSpy differ from Pat's opinion? 

Chapter 13

Read the short quotes from Dr. Seuss poems at the website below. Which one do you think is most similar to the poem CJ just found? (This annotation contains a link)
From CJ's reaction at the end of this chapter, we can infer that 

Chapter 14

What does the author mean when she writes, "Deep down, CJ knew the right thing to do"? 
Lenox Avenue was the heart of Harlem in New York City during the 1930's. Many different cultures came together there to celebrate jazz music. (This annotation contains an image)
What evidence is given that helps us infer that the night elevator man is suspicious of CJ's activities? 
Let's Review Chapters 1-14 

Chapter 15

A tunic is like a dress with no sleeves that usually comes down to the knee. See the picture of the school uniform below for reference.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does CJ's comparison of all the different uniforms and the Olympics help us picture what they are seeing? 

Chapter 16

To describe how fast CJ is running, the author uses a simile. CJ is compared to an Olympian. Watch this short video to learn more about this type of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Who do you think the mysterious man is, and how is he getting in and out of the apartment? Make sure to use evidence from this chapter to support your opinions. 

Chapter 17

When an author uses a sound word like "Whoosh" it is called onomatopoeia. This strategy helps us understand what the characters are hearing. As a matter of fact the title of the first chapter of this book is an example of onomatopoeia! Do you remember which sound word it was? 

Chapter 18

Why is Eloise Post so calm about Patrick's disappearance? 
"Run amok" is a phrase that means to go bad or to go in a crazy direction. 
What is the significance of the highlighted sentence? 
Patrick's actions prove that he is  

Chapter 19

Below is a link to the exhibit that Eloise and the children are looking at! Read the short paragraph on this website to see if Eloise was telling the truth. (This annotation contains a link)
What evidence from the text supports the idea that the children have been successful in re-sparking Eloise's interest in her father's treasure hunt? 

Chapter 20

How does Patrick's sacrifice affect the conflict between Maricel and the children? 
Here is a picture of Belvedere Castle in Central Park. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 21

There is some situational irony going on here. What is ironic about the way Miss Post is reacting to all the information the kids have shared with her? 
CJ has an interesting opinion about poetry. Can you think of a poem you've read or studied that has "stuck to your brain"? 
What mood does the author set with this last sentence? 

Chapter 22

Did you hold your breath a little bit reading that last paragraph? The author created some suspense in this section. What details made this paragraph suspenseful? 
How do you think that Eloise will react when she finds out CJ overheard her conversation? 

Chapter 23

"Central Park looked like an artist's palette..." is a good example of 
Here are pictures of the two famous buildings Eloise is telling them about. What similarities do you notice? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does CJ state that he knows how Eloise must have felt? 
Which part of this section demonstrates irony? 
Many times an author will use dialogue, or conversation, between characters to teach the reader a new word or phrase. 

Chapter 24

Downward-dog is a popular position when someone is doing Yoga. This is what Carron might look like demonstrating downward-dog. (This annotation contains an image)
Although they are trying to look disappointed that Miss Munn will be babysitting them, CJ and Brid are actually 
This is a photograph of the Great Hall at Ellis Island. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 25

What does the author mean when she says, "It was a mixed-up neighborhood..."? 

Chapter 26

"Cracked the ice" is an idiom. An idiom is a saying that has a special meaning. In this case, "cracked the ice" means they haven't even started to figure out the pattern. 
What strategy has the group decided to use to check the city for clues? What evidence from the text best supports your answer? 

Chapter 27

Here is the gravestone they are looking at. (This annotation contains an image)
How is Brid's reaction to the trip different than Eloise's so far? 
This is what a general's star looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following events changes the group's plan for the day? 

Chapter 28

The author has created a fun way to teach us a little history! Can you imagine taking a newspaper and putting a dot under certain words so that you create a totally new message to someone? How clever! 
How has Brent changed the direction of the story? 
Let's Review Chapters 15-28 

Chapter 29

This paragraph is full of great imagery to help us picture what is going on. Details like "jelly-filled legs that felt heavy and lifeless" and feeling like he is "swimming to the top of a black and sightless pool, desperate for air" really create tension, suspense and bold images in our mind! 
This chapter was full of suspense! Watch these famous authors talk about how to build suspense. While you read, think about the details from this chapter that make it especially suspenseful. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 31

What can you infer about Brid from the events of this chapter? 
Here is another map of New York City. Do you see any similarities or differences in the symbols marked on them? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 32

Reading about the adventure with the DigiSpy, Rafael, creates a lot of tension and suspense. How does the author help ease the tension in the story at this point? 
Wistful means longing for or sadly wanting. What do you think Eloise is wistful for? 

Chapter 33

Would you like to see what Grand Central Station looks like before the characters in our book get there? Watch this one minute video! (This annotation contains a video)
We can infer from this statement that Eloise means  
Here is a photograph of the actual caduceus on Grand Central Terminal. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 34

Why are the children feeling joyful at this point in the story? 

Chapter 35

The author uses ___________ to compare the people rushing off the train to race horses at a track. 
What reason is given for the United States to stop being so "welcoming" to immigrants by the nineteen twenties? 
Read this plaque that appears at Ellis Island. Imagine being some of those immigrants being reunited! (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 36

How are Brid and CJ's views of the snow day different from Patrick and their mother's? 
Defunct means no longer in use. Why do you think the el train doesn't run anymore? 
This is a picture of the Queensboro Bridge. You can see how it would take people from farmland into the city. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 37

What does the word "smug" mean in this sentence? 
How are Eloise and Mrs. Smithfork different when it comes to meals? 
Read this web article about Ota Benga. What similarities and differences do you notice with Eloise's version? (This annotation contains a link)
How has Brid changed over the course of the story? 

Chapter 38

This is a good example of a simile. Leather is a very tough material, one that can barely be broken. The fact that Brid's voice is this tough tells us that she is not afraid to be confronting Mr. Torrio. 
Do you think that Eloise should listen to Mr. Torrio and let him read the letter? Explain your reasoning. 
Brid ignores a large New York firefighter, runs into "a black hole of darkness," ruins her white snow pants, and shares the tunnel with a family of escaping rats. What can you infer about Brid's relationship with her brothers? 
What can you infer from the illustration in this section? 
The beautiful, but no longer used, City Hall Station. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 39

What is ironic about this sentence? 
"Mesmerized" means hypnotized or greatly holding the attention of someone. Can you image how incredible this must all seem to Anne Smithfork? 

Chapter 40

We can infer that Eloise is feeling light-headed because 
Balustrades are protective railings often built at the edges of balconies or rooftops. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 41

What story-changing fact do we learn from this letter? 

Chapter 42

"Abashed" means embarrassed. Why would Julian be embarrassed about that part? 
How is the poem related to the painting? 
This is a picture of a water tower similar to the one in the story. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think CJ is thinking about here? 

Chapter 43

In this simile what two things are being compared? 
Let's Review Chapters 29-34