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Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare--do you know of a reading/study guide for this?

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I'm looking for something simple with comprehension questions and vocabulary, and maybe a few paragraph-writing assignments.  I haven't found anything free online, nor anything for purchase either, for that matter. 


I had my copy of Calico Captive in a pile of books I'm considering for the upcoming school year, and EK (age 20) saw it and told me that I simply MUST have my students read it.  She read the book years ago and has kept it on her top shelf (she has "top shelf" books, LOL) ever since.  She hasn't read it for probably 5 years at the very least, and she just narrated the entire plot of the book to me from memory!  I can only hope it will have that impression on my reading-hating students.  But I don't want to write my own study guide; I have too much else to do!  Help!

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UPDATE:  I kept searching and clicked on some unlikely looking links, and I found these:


http://somcanyons.enschool.org/apps/classes/show_assignment.jsp?start=70&classREC_ID=551669&showAll=true (search the page for "Calico Captive", then click "prev" at the bottom to find more assignments)









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I searched my documents and found this:  (Sorry, I don't have a source)...


Calico Captive Reading Guide

Suggested Activities and Questions: 

1. Using a blank map, locate all the different places mentioned in the book. 

2. Write an outline of the plot. 

3. Compare the experience of being captured by Native Americans experienced by Mariam with the experience of characters in other books (e.g., True Son in "The Light in the Forest.") 

4. Write short biographies of each of the main characters. 

5. Why doesn't Miriam know how to swim?

6. What were the differences between Pierre's and Miriam's feelings about Native Americans? What do you think caused these differences? 

7. What do you think happens to the characters of this novel after the end of the book?

Suggested Vocabulary: 


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  • 4 months later...

I know this is several months old, but thought I'd revive it since I was looking for the same thing and I am sure others will also!


Appentice Bee, your first link is where Hive Minds document came from: Somerset Canyons Charter Schools.  That study guide is just for the first 5 chapters.

when I searched Calico Captive I got this page, all the assignments for that class, but in it were the documents for the Calico Captive study guides:


That took awhile, so I have compiled it here.  First off is a creative writing assignment I really like that goes along with it all. Then following that are the vocab and questions for the whole book.  

I hope others will find this useful! (sorry some of the formatting copies a little strange!)


Calico Captive Writing Journal

You are to create a diary.

Choose a character from the novel. Pretend you are this character. You must write as if you were this character throughout the entire diary.

After each of the chapters listed below, you will write a 10-12 sentence diary entry explaining your feelings and describing what is happening to you in the novel up to that point (after Ch. 2 you will write about Ch. 1 & 2, after Ch. 5 you will write about Ch. 3,4,5 etc.).

Each entry must include a date (use realistic dates from the setting of the book)

Write diary entries after reading the following:


Entry # 1 – after reading Chapter 2

Entry # 2 – after reading Chapter 5

Entry # 3 – after reading Chapter 7

Entry # 4 – after reading Chapter 10

Entry # 5 – after reading Chapter 13

Entry # 6 – after reading Chapter 16

Entry # 7 – after reading Chapter 19

Entry # 8 – after reading Chapter 23


Calico Captive: Questions to think about as you read. When reading, use your imagination and picture someone you know behaving as the story’s characters behave. This helps you to understand what the characters are feeling and thinking, even when it is not stated explicitly in the book. Look for evidence! We will discuss the book in August.


As you read the first four chapters of Calico Captive, think about the setting of the novel and the importance of the time period. Also, consider Miriam, the protagonist of the story. What is she like? Would you like to have her as a friend? A lot happens to her in this story, try to imagine how you would feel in her shoes.

Chapters 1-5

Define the following words

1..  Boisterous

2.  Banter

3.  Chagrin

4.  Calico

5.  Beau

6.  Rapturous

7.  Palisade                                                                  

8.  Tomahawk

9.  Plight

10.  Keen

11.  Porridge

12.  Plunder

13.  Scorn

14.  Vexation

15.  Docile

16.  Derision

17.  Bough

18.  Cackle

19.  Provoke

20.  Savage

21.  Decrepit

22.  Papists

23.  barbarian


Answer the following questions from Chapters 1-5

1.From what perspective is Calico Captive written? (First, Second, Third person)

2. Who is the main character, or heroine, of the book? How would you describe her in Chapter 1?

3. What is the setting (time and place ) of this story?

4. What was the religion of Susanna Johnson’s family? Did this affect their culture and behavior?

5. What is the conflict, or problem, of this story?

6. From the Indians’ perspective, why is it acceptable to raid the compound and take slaves?

7. Why does Miriam think the Indians are barbarians?

8. What was the baby’s name?

9. Who jumped in the water to rescue the baby?

10. What did Miriam receive from Mehkoa on her birthday?

11. What tribe of Indians captured Miriam’s family?

12. What did Miriam learn to make at the Indian mission?


Calico Captive Assignment # 2- Chapters 6-8

Define the following words

1.       Arrogant

2.       Wampum

3.       Forebode

4.       Haggard

5.       Squaw

6.       Inscrutable

7.       Bedraggled

8.       Meek

9.       Outlandish

10.   Dainty

11.   Arpent


Answer the following questions from Chapter 6-8

1.       What present did Mekhoa offer to Miriam at the tribal council?

2.       What did the present represent/mean?

3.       How did Miriam react?

4.       What was Mekhoa’s reaction to how Miriam responded?

5.       What does Miriam’s dress represent to her?

6.       What did Miriam have to leave St. Francis?

7.       Who stayed behind at St. Francis? Why?

8.       In which city did the DuQuesne family live? In what modern country is that?

9.       Read the last paragraph on pgs 87, 88, & 89. How would you describe Hortense?

10.   Why does Miriam feel guilty as she goes to sleep in the DuQuesne home?

11.   How would you describe Felicite?

12.   On pg 104, why does Miriam shiver?


Calico Captive Assignment # 3 Chapter 9-11

Define the following words

1.                  Rebuke

2.                  Grace

3.                  Interminable

4.                  Disheveled

5.                  Propriety

6.                  Reproach

7.                  Deceive

8.                  Petticoat

9.                  Envy

10.  Convent

11.  Capricious


Answer the following questions from Chapters 9-11

1.Why do you think Miriam seems so surprised to see Native American school girls, dressed in uniforms, walking in straight lines, on their way to school?

2. How does Madame DuQuesne react when she sees Miriam dressed elegantly? Why?

3. How would you contrast Polly’s appearance with Susanna’s appearance?

4. Why do you think Miriam is so troubled by her conversation with Susanna? (pg 128-131)

5. After reading Chapter 11, explain how Miriam has changed since the beginning of the book.


Calico Captive Assignment # 4

Define each word below:

1.       Disconcert

2.       Rebuke

3.       Mollify

4.       Torrent

5.       Suppress

6.       Haughty

7.       Reluctant

8.       Indignant

9.       Coiffure


Answer the following questions from Chapter 12 -16

10.   What did Miriam do to the dress Felicite let her borrow for the dance?

11.   What happens at the dance between Pierre and Miriam?

12.   Why were Felicite and Madame DuQuesne mad at Miriam?

13.   Who offered for Susanna and Miriam to go live with their family?

14.   Why will it be impossible for Susanna and Miriam to get paying jobs in Montreal?

15.   What did Susanna and Miriam do to pass time in their new home?

16.   How do the neighbor’s feel about Susanna and Miriam’s presence at the new home?

17.   Which character from the beginning of the book appeared again at the end of Chapter 14?

18.   When winter ended, Miriam left the house and went to see Madame DuQuesne. Why?

19.   What happens with Polly in Chapter 16?


Calico Captive Assignment # 5 Chapter 17-19


Define the following words 

1.       Traipse

2.       Maypole

3.       Concede

4.       Reconcile

5.       Rebuff

6.       Luminous


Answer the following questions from Chapters 17- 19.

7.       What did Pierre teach Miriam about the Indians?

8.       Who did Miriam find while she was with Pierre?

9.       How did Sylvanus react when Miriam told him she would take him to Susanna?

10.   Why is Miriam angry with Pierre after her run-in with Sylvanus?

11.   What happens when Miriam tries to think about Phineas at the end of Chapter 17?

12.   Which character returned in the beginning of Chapter 18?

13.   How long has it been since the family has seen James?

14.   Why did it take James so long to return with the ransom?

15.   What did James give Miriam?

16.   What happened to the family the night James arrived home?

17.   Why did Miriam not get arrested?

18.   What does Miriam learn about Pierre at the beginning of Chapter 19?

19.   What did Pierre offer to buy Miriam?

20.   What is her reaction to his offer?

21.   Describe the inside of the jail (pg 222-223)

22.   Why are Miriam and her family unable to leave Montreal even though James had a letter of credit from the Governor of Albany?


Calico Captive Assignment # 6- Chapter 20-23

Define the following words

1.       Summon

2.       Muslin

3.       Tumult

4.       Lenient

5.       Coy

6.       Ascertain


7.       At the beginning of Chapter 20, who has summoned for Miriam?

8.       Why was she summoned?

9.       Describe the Marquise

10.   What did the Marquise give Miriam permission to do?

11.   What did Miriam decide to do for Hortense at the end of Chapter 20?

12.   Why is Pierre mad at Felicite?

13.   Why/How does Miriam’s attitude change at the end of Chapter 21?

14.   What 2 questions does Pierre ask Miriam?

15.   What is Miriam’s response to Pierre’s second question?

16.   Why does Monsieur LaRoche approve of Miriam even though she’s not French?

17.   What does the Governor tell Miriam about her return home?

18.   What do we discover that Miriam has never done before?

19.   Who did Miriam choose to marry?

20.   What happened to Sylvanus?

21.   What happened to little Susanna?

22.   Who did Miriam end up marrying?




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