Two tiger cub brothers are torn from the jungle and taken to Rome. The stronger cub is trained as a killer at the Coliseum. Emperor Caesar makes a gift of the smaller cub to his beautiful daughter, Aurelia. She adores her cub, Boots. Julius, a young animal keeper, teaches Aurelia how to earn Boots's trust. Boots is pampered while his brother, known as Brute, lives in the cold and darkness, let out only to kill. Caesar trusts Julius to watch Aurelia and her prized pet. But when a prank backfires, Boots temporarily escapes and Julius must pay with his life. Thousands watch as Julius is sent unarmed into the arena to face the killer Brute. From the Hardcover edition.
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What a tragic beginning to the story! What is happening to the tiger cubs?
Chapter 1 - In the Hold
Her is a short video of two tiger cubs and their mother from Animal Planet. (This annotation contains a link)
What does "the slaver and the blood" refer to?
The she-elephant was obviously chained by her feet. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is some information and a few pictures of adorable tiger cubs. (This annotation contains a link)
Write two or three sentences to describe where you think the cubs are being taken and what is happening to them.
Here is a clue. Look up the word arena in the dictionary feature and think about where the animals may be going.
Here is a little information on the Appian Way. (This annotation contains a link)
The cubs are riding in a
Chapter 2 - Caesar's Daughter
The name Aurelia means "golden". It can have different pronunciations. which can be Aw-Rah-Li-Yah, Aw-Reel-Yah, and Or-Rill-Yah. Try pronouncing all three to see which one you like best.
What do you think time and place is for this story?
To read some interesting background history on Ancient Rome, visit your school or local library. Ask the librarian to help you! (This annotation contains an image)
Aurelia knows that she has the power to kill the fish but decides not to. Why?
Lavish gifts such as wild animals were common among royal families in ancient times.
Even though Auerila is powerful as a princess the clues from the text tell us that she is
Here is a short video describing the Roman Colosseum. (This annotation contains a link)
Write a few sentences to explain why you think Aurelia's new tiger cub is or is not better off than his brother.
Remember to use the dictionary feature to look up unfamiliar words and their pronunciations.
How does Julius feel about Aurelia?
Chapter 3 - The Naming
Aurelia will have to earn the tiger cub's
How will the way the tiger cubs are treated affect their behavior?
Why does the Emperor give his daughter a tiger cub?
Here is a little history on slavery during the Roman Empire. (This annotation contains a link)
Imagine having a tiger cub as a pet! Think about why wild animals are dangerous as pets.
Pata is the word Aurelia uses to mean "Father".
Why is it that the Empress cannot keep her daughter from having a tiger as a pet?
Chapter 4 - Visits
As you view this video about teenagers in ancient Rome, think about how your life is similar or different. (This annotation contains a video)
Here are some interesting facts about the Roman Gladiators. You will be reading more about the games, or the "circus" as you continue the story. (This annotation contains a link)
From what you read in this paragraph, what is Julius's predicament?
As you can tell from what you have read so far, the social hierachy in Ancient Rome was very important. Here is some information. (This annotation contains an image)
What do Julius and Aurelia have in common?
Here is an image of the Colosseum as it would appear today. (This annotation contains an image)
As the story unfolds, predict why do you think the author is painting such a vivid picture of the circus.
Who is the author referring to as the one exception?
This mosaic may help give you a picture of the Ancient Roman circuses held at the Colosseum in Rome. (This annotation contains an image)
A diagram of what the tunnels and the trap doors would have looked like. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Boot's brother meaner than Boots?
This sentence tells the reader that Brute knows his name because he is
Write a few sentences to describe how Julius feels about the inhumane treatment of the animals.
Here is some interesting information on the treatment of animals at the Colosseum in Ancient Roman times. (This annotation contains a link)
In this sentence the author uses a metaphor to tell us that smells are how a tiger
Chapter 5 - Marcus
Watch this video on foreshadowing. Think about Marcus's character and what he might do as the story progresses. (This annotation contains a video)
The author gives clues that Marcus may be
Gladiators were an important part of Roman history. Read this interesting article from PBS. (This annotation contains a link)
How does Aurelia feel about the circus, even though she has never been?
A person's character is demonstrated by actions more than words. Write a few sentences that describe what Julius's actions tell about who he is as a person.
Quiz, Part One
Chapter 6 - Aurelia to the Circus
How do you think it would feel to be the daughter of such a powerful person as Caesar? List some good as well as some bad things that might come with being in a family of wealth and power.
Think about Julius' character and how protective he feels over Aurelia as she faces her inner-conflict. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 7 - “The Greatest Treat”
Look at the definition of "haughtiness". What does this sentence tell you about how Aurelia looks and feels as she enters the Colosseum?
Using context clues, can you guess what a palla is? This image may help. (This annotation contains an image)
Remember that in ancient times, there were no photographs, and no books to describe people and places. The Romans relied on word of mouth and written scrolls for information. Think about how communication and our educational system has evolved over time!
Why does Marcus continue to encourage Aurelia to enjoy the circus?
This sentence tells us that Caesar values money over
Reflect upon what you read in this chapter and think about how Aurelia, Julius, and even Marcus must be feeling. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 8 - The Trick
Even though Marcus has his faults, he is feeling ______________ after being disgraced by his father after his behavior at the circus.
This is an interesting, short blog that provides some information on tiger behavior, in and out of captivity. (This annotation contains a link)
A vomitorium was used for several purposes. Read this short description from Hungry History. (This annotation contains a link)
We can see that Marcus is quite excited about Aurelia's visit. How does the writer let us know that she is special to him?
Here is some information on arranged marriages during the Roman Empire. (This annotation contains a link)
Write a few sentences to describe what you think could happen with a loose tiger in the house!
Chapter 9 - The Catastrophe
Here is a slide show that gives you some visuals of what ancient Rome looked like. (This annotation contains a link)
What motivates Marcus to be so dishonest and conniving?
As you watch this video, think about who the antagonist in the story is. (This annotation contains a video)
The dialogue between Aurelia and Marcus shows that Aurelia is
Here is some information on Roman villas that will help you visualize where Marcus lives. (This annotation contains a link)
Based on the conversation Marcus has with his mother, write a few sentences that predict what you think will happen next.
Chapter 10 - Freedom
Animals held in captivity have difficulty surviving if they are turned out into the wild. Here is some good information from National Geographic. (This annotation contains a link)
From what we have read about Julius so far, we can infer that he is very brave and
Who do you think Aurelia's mother is most worried about?
Chapter 11 - Julius in Chains
Boots appears to have human thoughts and behaves somewhat like a tame kitten. Here is some information on how an author "personifies" animals in stories. (This annotation contains a video)
A situation such as this one is a perfect example of why it is always best to tell the truth, even when it is painful.
Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom. Ironic, isn't it, that his tears fell on the mosaic of her face! (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz, Part Two
Chapter 12 - Aurelia's Secret
Reflect on how you feel about wild animals being held in captivity. This video clip is food for thought. (This annotation contains a link)
Reflect on what you know about Caesar and write a description of his character. Be sure to include your thoughts on how he treats the common people, as well as his family.
What does the highlighted sentence tell the reader?
Spiced fig balls and pine-nut stuffed dates were favored sweets in ancient Rome (This annotation contains an image)
The old nurse is taking a huge risk by taking the note to Julius. Why is she doing this?
Describe, in a few sentences, why Marcus thinks he is being betrayed. Reflect on how Marcus's immaturity may be affecting how he thinks.
Think about the tone and mood of the story and how it can change as chapters progress. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 13 - Amelia's Sacrifice
This website will give you a short explanation of the Ancient Roman gods and goddesses. The larium, or lare, is where the families placed their offerings. (This annotation contains a link)
As a father and the ruler of Rome, Aurelia's father feels that he has to be very
Chapter 14 - The Ides of July
This sentence illustrates the emotion of ____ that Marcus is feeling.
Think about how the lives of women have changed for the better since ancient times.
The conversations between Aurelia and the nurse tell us that the nurse is opinionated. Knowing what you know about how women were treated in Ancient times, how might this cause her problems?
Chapter 15 - In the Arena
As you read this book reflect on the many ways in which the Ancient Roman culture has influenced how we live today. What type of event would draw a crowd of 50,000 people today?
The differences in the interaction between Boots and Brute tells us that Boots is more _______ because of his upbringing.
Be sure to look up the word "cupidity".
The pacing of this story seems to be fast, and keeps the reader engaged as the events unfold. (This annotation contains a video)
This appears to be climax, or the high point of the story that keeps us reading until the end. What do you think the outcome will be?
How did Julius know what Brute was thinking?
Can you imagine being face to face with a ferocious tiger? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 16 - A Triumph of Will
Think about the significance of Caesar tossing his wreath of laurel leaves. (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses figurative language to compare the power of
Quiz, Part three
Even though the story has ended, be sure to read the epilogue. It contains some fascinating information on the Roman Empire.
What did you think about Julius walking away and going into hiding? Write a short paragraph to describe how you would end the story.
Here are some fun activities to help you learn more about ancient civilizations. (This annotation contains a link)
If you enjoyed the writing style of Lynne Reid Banks, here is her official website. Her writing spans many different genres and age groups. (This annotation contains a link)