Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 353
1. Make a map of the route taken by Summer and the others to and from the home of the medium.
2. Describe the capitol building and the museums found there.
3. What do psychologists think are the major steps in the process of grieving for a loved one? Do Summer and Ob follow these steps?
4. Missing May has many symbols, including the capitol, the whirligigs, and May's garden. Identify the symbols in the novella and explain what they represent.
5. Ob and Summer's trailer is a remarkably unusual place. From the descriptions in the book, draw or paint a picture of what it looks like on the inside or from the outside (or do both).
6. Whirligigs like those described in Missing May are popular in many rural areas. If you live in a rural area or can travel to one, bring along a camera and plenty of film and take photographs of the whirligigs. Then make a collage of the photographs or write a report on the kinds of whirligigs you found and where you found them (be sure to include the photographs). (Hint: whirligigs are often found on roofs, where they act as weather vanes, on front porches, on mailboxes, on fences—especially gates—and in front or back yards.)
7. Rylant uses much of her own life as material for her fiction. What parts of her life can you find in Missing May? (The "For Further Reference" section of this article lists some places where you will find information about Rylant's life.)
8. Book reviewers often note Rylant's prose style, usually praising it for its grace and clarity. What do you think of the prose in Missing May? Does it flow well? Is it clear and easy to understand? (You could expand this to cover several of Rylant's books for young adults.)
9. Why do both young adults and grownups like reading Rylant's books? Do young adults and grownups like the same aspects of the books?
10. Describe what life is like in Summer, Ob, and Cletus's part of West Virginia. What sort of people live there? What do they do for their livelihoods? What is school like?
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