Well Wished Discussion Guide
- Grades: 3–5
About the Book
In Well Wished, the Wishing Well has mysterious powers that can lead to disaster. All of the children in the village have disappeared because of one wish gone wrong. The only child in the area is Nuria, an orphan who lives outside the village with her grandfather. At first, eleven-year-old Nuria is thrilled when her grandfather wishes for the children to come back to their town. Then she is confused when she finds that only one girl, Catty, is back. However, she and Catty soon become fast friends.
When rest of the children left the village, Catty got sick and her legs became paralyzed. Although Nuria has promised her grandfather never to make a wish at the well, Catty persuades her to make a wish so that she will be able to walk again. When Nuria wishes that Catty had a body just like hers, the well switches the girls' bodies. Now Nuria is trapped and can't walk. Worse yet, she must live with Catty's family, instead of her beloved grandfather. Together the two girls could take back the wish, but Catty won't cooperate.
Nuria comes up with a clever plan so that Catty must sing in a play that they've been rehearsing. The words that Catty sings amount to taking back the fateful wish. Once the girls are back inside their own bodies, they forgive each other. A final wish restores Catty's power to walk, and the rest of the children return to town.
Before Reading the Book
Well Wished is a work of fantasy. In fantasy novels, things can happen that wouldn't in a realistic novel. What other works of fantasy have you read? Name some of the things that wouldn't occur in realistic fiction that do occur in the fantasy stories you are familiar with.
Nuria and Catty have a lot in common. They are both young girls who like fairy tales and fantasy. They each have lost at least one parent. What are some of the differences between the two girls? How do these differences account for some of their actions in the story?
Well Wished has a kind of fantastic setting. There are few indications to tell exactly what year the action is taking place. In a way, the author creates a time and place that is removed from our own, like a fairy tale's setting. How do you think the author manages to make the town both familiar and different from the communities you know?
After Nuria makes a wish that Catty has a body just like hers, the Wishing Well switches the girls' bodies. The rules of the well are clear: the wisher can take back a wish within a month's time. In this case, however, both girls must take back the wish. Conflict exists between the two girls because Catty will not take back the wish? She's enjoying walking too much. Conflict also exists between Nuria and the Well itself. The Wishing Well makes it nearly impossible for her to tell her grandfather what has happened. How does Catty resolve both conflicts?
- One difference between fantasy novels and realistic fiction is that fantasy novels can include magic. What magic occurs in Well Wished? Is all of the magic a result of the Wishing Well?
- Catty's governess, Miss D'Estuffier, is both beautiful and treacherous. Why do you think she tries to turn Catty's father against who she believes to be Nuria? How are her plans destroyed by her own selfishness?
- Although Nuria is very fond of Catty, she can't bear to share certain things with her, like the songs and games she has with her grandfather. Why do you think Nuria wants to keep those away from Catty? Do you have special songs or games that you share with only one other person?
- Once she has been switched to Nuria's body, Catty admits that she made the fateful wish that made all of the other children leave the village. Catty wished that she might be the most beautiful child in the village. Do you think that beauty is worth wishing for? Why or why not?
- One of Miss D'Estuffier's meaner tricks is to tell Catty that she can't sing. How is singing important in this story?
- Nuria and Catty act out the story of The Snow Queen. Can you name any parallels between the story of Well Wished and the story of The Snow Queen? Kai changes drastically when ice gets into his heart. How does magic change the characters in Well Wished? How do the two children reestablish their friendship?