Book Info: Quest

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Age group: 12-17

Jacket illustration: Samuel Yuen Jr.

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Discussions and Activities:


Social Studies

  1. What choice would you have made had you been faced with Seth’s dilemma? Would you have risked the possibility of being hanged for treason or would you have gone with the captain and hoped to make it back by shallop?
  2. Have you ever betrayed a friend before? Did the friend find out? How did you feel afterwards? Has anyone every betrayed you? How did you feel about it?


  1. Discuss and compare modern day explorers to the explorers of the past. How were their lives similar? How were they different?
  2. In each of Richard’s chapters, I tried to illustrate the life of 1610. Can you find one or two differences between your life and Richard’s and explain how modern advances have made your lives a lot easier to live.
  3. Spies have always been a part of the race for economic dominance. In World War II, Matta Hari was an infamous spy. How have spies worked in the past? What techniques have they used? And how has spying become more complicated with the technology of today?


  1. On a map, locate the longitude and latitude where Captain Hudson and his crew found themselves trapped.
  2. From the point you’ve located and with an average speed of 9 knots, how soon will the Discovery make it to London? If Captain Hudson’s small shallop has an average speed of 4 knots, how much longer will it take him to reach the same destination?


  1. Navigators in 1610 used plumb lines to measure for depth and the stars and a compass to guide them. Discuss how this is done now technologically.
  2. Knowledge of illnesses in 1610 was limited. Most doctors believed that patients had certain “humors” that sometimes became unbalanced. To remedy this, they often bled their patients by attaching leeches to their skin and letting the animals suck out blood. Scurvy was common among sailors, causing them to lose teeth. Discuss what caused this disease andwhat prevents it today. Can you think of other illnesses that have been cured since then?
  3. Scientifically, what would have happened had the men left the Discovery where it was, floating on the water early in the season rather than pulling it to the top of the ice that had already formed?

Language Arts

  1. QUEST is told from four points of view. Discuss how this helps the story unfold. If it was to be told from only one perspective, which character’s viewpoint would you have chosen and why? (This need not be one of the viewpoints I used)
  2. Define the following words:
    1. petulantly
    2. supremacy
    3. ostensibly
    4. surmised
    5. indiscretion
    6. brandishing
    7. lapses
    8. admonished
    9. sullenly
    10. adept
    11. usurp
    12. coveted
    1. insinuate
    2. incorrigible
    3. tutelage
    4. demoted
    5. levity
    6. poultice
    7. livery
    8. precarious
    9. odious
    10. scoffed
    11. wily
    12. sequestered
    1. venomous
    2. composure
    3. quelled
    4. tedious
    5. pompousness
    6. impasse
    7. propriety
    8. introspective
    9. callousness
    10. infernal
    11. whims
    12. pervasive