Use these questions and the activities that follow to get more out of the experience of reading Beauty by Bill Wallace.
- How does Luke’s mother greet Mike Garrison when they first meet? What is Mike’s response?
- Describe Grampa’s method for killing rats in the barn. Why does he do it this way?
- What happens to Beauty when Luke and Joshua play cowboys with Grampa’s cattle? How does Grampa react?
- Luke’s mother knew moving in with Grampa wouldn’t be easy, but she told Luke she didn’t know what else to do. Summarize the circumstances that forced Luke and his mom to move to Oklahoma.
- Luke finds out quickly that Lady is not at all like Beauty. In your own words, describe how the two horses differ.
- Promises play an important role in this book. Explain why Luke is surprised when Mike keeps his promise to give him a riding lesson “anytime.” Use what you know about Luke’s past to support your answer.
- The characters in the book—human and animal—span three generations. How does the expression “history repeats itself” apply to the oldest and youngest generations in this story?
- On page 123, Grampa tells Luke’s mother that “if you’re too scared to trust or to love, you might as well quit living altogether. You can’t go through this world without trusting or loving. That ain’t living.” How could Luke also benefit from this advice?
- When Luke first meets his grandfather, he describes him as “mean and cruel and heartless” (p. 36). As they get to know each other, Luke begins to see Grampa’s softer side. List at least three situations in which Luke discovers what’s behind Grampa’s gruff exterior.
- At the beginning of the novel, the way Luke remembers his experiences with his father on the Morning Trail is better than they actually were. Even after he learns to ride Beauty, Luke says he thinks he likes “Colorado riding” better than “Oklahoma-type riding” (p. 65). How has Luke’s view of the Morning Trail changed by the story’s end?
- Imagine that Luke has decided to write his father a letter to confront him about his broken promises and to tell him about his new life in Oklahoma. What do you think he would say? Compose the letter, incorporating Luke’s feelings about his parents’ divorce and details about how Luke has been spending his time.
- When Luke and Joshua go out riding together, Joshua persuades Luke to disobey his grandfather’s orders and run the cows. What is your opinion of Joshua? If you were Luke, would you have been so easily convinced? If not, how would you have handled the situation differently?
- Though Luke’s relationship with his father is troubled, Luke is able to develop positive relationships with Grampa and Mike. In your view, what makes an adult a good role model? Evaluate Luke’s father, Grampa, and Mike based on your criteria.
- Luke is miserable when he arrives in Oklahoma, but by the end of the book, he has become comfortable in his new surroundings. Which character do you think did the most to help Luke adjust to Oklahoma—Grampa, Mike, Joshua, Beauty, or Dandy? Use details from the text to support your answer.
Note: These questions are keyed to Bloom's Taxonomy as follows: Knowledge: 1–3; Comprehension: 4–6; Application: 7–8; Analysis: 9–10; Synthesis: 11; Evaluation: 12–14.
- The novel includes many terms used by people who own and ride horses. Create an illustrated glossary of horse-related terms. Include definitions for the words rodeo, colt, filly, corral, saddle, mare, trot, gallop, stirrup, bridle, and halter.
- Horses play central roles in many legends, films, and works of literature, from Black Beauty to The Horse Whisperer. Choose a myth, book, or movie about another fictional horse to read or watch. Then write a report that compares and contrasts that horse with Beauty.
- Humans have had close relationships with horses for thousands of years. Use the Internet or other resources at a local library to research the history of horses. Prepare a presentation for your class about what you have learned.
- Mike Garrison’s riding class helps Luke meet new people and become more comfortable handling horses. Create an advertisement for the riding class that might persuade a nervous person to give the lessons a try.