Resourceful subjects

In each of the following books for children and young adults we find characters who are good at solving problems. Can you name the titles? (Hint: The first was a bestseller and a major motion picture.)

1. Our next attempt at measuring thrust was a variation on the theme, this time using Mom's bathroom scale. I was absolutely certain that I would return it unscathed.... Using some channel iron found behind the machine shop, we built what looked like a miniature oil derrick and placed it over the scale as a brace for a tube that held the rocket.

2. He could hardly manage English, much less the poetic language of a king. But he could make stuff. They dragged boards and other materials from the scrap heap by Miss Bessie's pasture and built their castle stronghold in the place they had found in the woods. Leslie filled a three-pound coffee can with crackers and dried fruit and a one-pound can with strings and nails.

3. When Mario had cleaned off the cricket as much as he could, he hunted around the floor of the station for a matchbox. In a minute he'd found one and knocked out one end. Then he folded a sheet of Kleenex, tucked it in the box and put the cricket in. It made a perfect bed.

4. A spider can produce several kinds of thread. She uses a dry, tough thread for foundation lines, and she uses a sticky thread for snare lines - the ones that catch and hold insects. C. decided to use her dry thread for writing the new message.

"If I write the word 'Terrific' with sticky thread," she thought, "every bug that comes along will get stuck in it and spoil the effect."

5. Matthew whirled around, dived back through the entrance, reached into his pack and leaped outside holding the snowmobile's mirror. "Give me the knife, the knife!" he shouted. With its point he scratched a small cross in the mercury behind the glass. Then, standing in the rays of the morning sun, he placed it against his eye and sighted on the plane.

6. From two rabbit skins he made some mittens without thumbs. He had no stockings, and his moosehide moccasins were wearing thin. He decided he could stuff them with scraps of blanket or even with duck feathers. He remembered that once, in a downpour, Attean had shown him how to line his moccasins with dried moss to soak up the rain. Perhaps moss could soak up the cold as well, and there was plenty of it about.

7. Fritz and I then ascended the tree.... All useless boughs we lopped off, leaving a few about six feet from the floor, from which we might sling our hammocks, and others still higher, to support a temporary roof of sailcloth. My wife made fast the planks to a rope passed through the block I had fixed to the boughs above us, and by this means Fritz and I hauled them up.


(1) 'October Sky,' by Homer H. Hickam, 1999; (2) 'Bridge To Terabithia,' by Katherine Paterson, 1977; (3) 'The Cricket in Times Square,' by George Selden, 1960; (4) 'Charlotte's Web,' by E.B. White, 1952; (5) 'Frozen Fire,' by James Houston, 1977; (6) 'The Sign of the Beaver,' by Elizabeth George Speare, 1983; (7) 'The Swiss Family Robinson,' by Johann Wyss, 1813.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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