A complete list of the novels available

How to order-- It's Easy!

Copyright 1999

Created by Brian Thornton

Click here for more information Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

Click here to order
Click to order

Underground to Canada

Barbara Smucker

Student Study Guide


ISBN 0-14-031122-X

All answers must be in sentence form.

Chapter 1

  1. Who is making the night music that drones through the plantation?
  2. Why does Massa (Master) Jeb Hensen not like the slaves singing?
  3. Describe the setting at the opening of the novel.
  4. Describe June Lilly.
  5. Who is Missy Hensen and what does she tell Old John, the coachman?
  6. Find Virginia on a map of the United States.
  7. What is meant by the "deep South"?
  8. Why does Julilly's mother speak of Canada?

Vocabulary: drone, quarters, coarse, plantation, scold, fretful, kin, mourned, tote.

Enrichment: Read the "Note to the Reader" at the beginning of the book.  What is dialect?  Is there any dialect spoken in your region? Who might be able to supply you with this type of information?

Find information about Canadian dialect.


Chapter 2

  1. Why did the slaves get up so early?
  2. What does Mama tell June Lilly to do if she is sold.
  3. Describe how the man rounded up the slaves that morning.
  4. Why does the author describe him in such an unpleasant fashion?
  5. Why was Julilly so frightened?

Vocabulary: ram, yearning, loiter.

Enrichment: Write a short biography on Barbara Smucker.


Chapter 3

  1. How did the tall white man offer to help the slaves?
  2. What is meant by the phrase, "their eyes spoke fear"?
  3. What were the "sheets of falling water"?
  4. Why did the fat man become so angry?

Vocabulary: tolling, wisp, plodding, clung, abolitionist.

Enrichment: Research slavery in both the United States and Canada. When was slavery abolished?   Describe what harm slavery does to both the slave and slave owner.   Slavery still exists in the world today. Find out where? Is there anything you can do to combat this slavery?


Chapter 4

  1. Why were Adam's ankles torn?
  2. How do we know the fat man is completely insensitive to the needs of the slaves?
  3. How did Julilly help the men in the cyprus swamp?
  4. Imagine you are chained to the wagon and being forced to walk for days and days. Describe how you would feel.

Vocabulary: stifling, gourd, sullen, sieves, huddle.

Enrichment: What is meant by a negro spiritual?  Locate some in the library or on the internet.  Listen to them and then sing them to your class.  Why was music so important to the slaves?


Chapter 5

  1. How does the fat man know that they are probably back in Mississippi?
  2. Locate the state of Mississippi in an atlas.
  3. How does the reader know that the house Julilly is describing is a large mansion on the plantation?
  4. Compare the slave quarters on this plantation with the ones at Massa Hensen's.

Vocabulary: rumpled, magnolia, frail, drawl, overseer.

Enrichment: Try and locate some plantations in the United States. Describe life on the plantation.


Chapter 6

  1. How does Liza describe Julilly's new home?
  2. What happened to Liza when she tried to run away?
  3. What is a "cat-o'-nine-tails?
  4. Why does Liza consider Julilly a friend?
  5. What are the two girls talking about just before they fall asleep?

Vocabulary: listless, trough, collard, rattan, shuffle.

Enrichment: Research the Quaker religion. Have a Quaker talk with your class about the history of Quakers.   How did they help in the fight against slavery?   Find information about the underground railway.


Chapter 7

  1. What happened to the old people if "they didn't meet the measure"?
  2. Describe the rumours about Canada.
  3. Who is the new visitor and why is he there?
  4. What evidence is there that he is concerned about the slaves?
  5. According to Julilly, what feels like the sting of a hundred bees?

Vocabulary: elegant, tote, gourd, pout, furrows, crinkled, clipped.

Enrichment: What is ornithology? Do some research and find out if it occurs in the region where you live.


Chapter 8

  1. Why did Julilly place extra cotton bolls into Liza's sack?
  2. What type of dead bird is sticking out of the bag?
  3. Why did all the slave girls "whisper" about Canada that night?
  4. How does Mr. Ross react when Sims tells him that Canada is very cold?
  5. What secret does Liza reveal to Julilly at the end of the chapter?

Vocabulary: roused, boll, dusk, timid, stalls, twitch.

Enrichment: Astronomers often refer to the North Star as Polaris.  Locate it in your nighttime sky.  Is it the brightest star in the sky?


Chapter 9

  1. Use a thesaurus to find synonyms for preacher.
  2. Describe how the Hensen plantation was different from where Julilly is presently living.
  3. What does Lester reveal to Julilly about Massa Ross?
  4. What is the signal that Julilly is to listen for that evening?
  5. Why is Adam surprised that Mr. Ross doesn't own slaves?

Vocabulary: preacher, pledge, bond, bondage, solemn, taut, gesture, gravely.

Enrichment: Describe the modern cotton industry.  Find countries other than the United States, where cotton is grown?  Describe some of the uses of cotton?

  Try this quiz on the internet about cotton.


Chapter 10

  1. Locate the state of Tennessee and the Mississippi River in an atlas.
  2. Why did Liza and Julilly no longer talk at night in their cabin?
  3. Locate some information on bloodhounds.
  4. Why were the slaves disappointed when it didn't rain?
  5. Why were Julilly and Liza happy that it didn't rain?
  6. Who cut the girls' hair?
  7. What sound frightened the girls?

Vocabulary: cicadas, dank, serene, stately, disdain, meagre, grovelling, water-moccasins, shrivelled.

Enrichment: Write a dialogue between Liza and Julilly the night before their escape.


Chapter 11

  1. Why did they wade through the swamps when they saw men on horseback?
  2. Why was Liza surprised when Lester told her that he could read?
  3. What comment does Julilly make about the password?
  4. Whom did they think had ridden by in the moonlight?
  5. Explain the Fugitive Slave Act.

Vocabulary: lapping, immobile, quivered, brisk, canvas, shuddered.

Enrichment: Lester charted their course on cloudy nights by feeling for moss on the north side of trees. Some wilderness guides say that moss only grows on the north side of trees. How could you find out whether or not this is true?

Find some activities on internet related to the underground railway.


Chapter 12

  1. How did the passengers know their cart had entered a narrow lane?
  2. What was the round glass object with the black needle?
  3. Locate Kentucky and Ohio in an atlas.
  4. What is the Underground Railway?
  5. What did Julilly think it was?
  6. What misfortune befell Lester and Adam at the end of the chapter?

Vocabulary: peeled, suffocate, conceal, fugitives, fervour, venison, prey, rasping.

Enrichment: Where does the word prejudice originate? Find the answer by dividing the word into two parts? Have you ever displayed any kind of prejudice? For example, are you reluctant to taste new food? What are the causes of prejudice?


Chapter 13

  1. Locate the Appalachian Mountains in an atlas.
  2. How were they able to see the compass at night?
  3. Describe what happened when Julilly asked the white woman for food.
  4. Describe their welcome at the next house.
  5. What surprised Julilly about the rows of cabins on this farm?
  6. What did Julilly notice when she scrubbed Liza's back?
  7. When did Julilly and Liza realize their visit had ended?

Vocabulary: scant, quenched, savour, fragrance, haggard, dispersed, unkempt, defiant

Enrichment: Research the Mennonites. Where did they come from originally? Are there any Mennonites where you live? Why might the Mennonite people be so opposed to slavery and prejudice?


Chapter 14

  1. What terrified the girls as they made their way through the mountain paths?
  2. Why did Julilly and Liza decide that it would be better to travel during daylight?
  3. What valuable information does the old man give to Julilly?
  4. What does Liza notice about the old man's back?
  5. Locate the Ohio River in an atlas.
  6. What news did the two girls receive about Lester and Adam?
  7. Define the following terms used by the underground railway:
    a. station
    b. freight
    c. dry goods
    d. hardware
    e. tracks

Vocabulary: trudged, hobbling, grove, chided, jagged.

Enrichment: Read the paragraph beginning, "A cloud smashed across the moon….". What makes this an effective piece of writing?


Chapter 15

  1. Who woke Jeb?
  2. What instructions did Ella give to the girls?
  3. Why did the Ohio River hold "mystery and terror" for Julilly and Liza?
  4. Locate Cincinnati in an atlas.
  5. To whose home were the girls going?

Vocabulary: immobile, clomping, wilted, sustenance, broth, skiff.

Enrichment: Using a map of the Mississippi River Drainage Basin, identify and label most of the major tributaries. Research the Mississippi River.


Chapter 16

  1. Describe Levi Coffin.
  2. Why did Sheriff Donnelly end up at the Coffin home?
  3. Why does Levi inform his wife that it is best if the girls leave right away?
  4. Why does Liza think that Lester and Adam might think the girls are Queen Victoria herself?

Vocabulary: gaunt, breeches, shawl, anguish, notorious, dictates, wisteria.

Enrichment: Research Queen Victoria.


Chapter 17

  1. Describe the girls' journey on the train.
  2. Locate Cleveland in an atlas.
  3. Who met the girls at the train station?
  4. Why did the man caution Liza to drink slowly?
  5. What news did the girls receive about Lester and Adam?
  6. What was the Mayflower and where would it take the girls?

Vocabulary: ember, lofty, impervious, brink, consequences, flourish, lassie, peals.

Enrichment: Are there causes for which you would be willing to risk your own life?


Chapter 18

  1. Where did the captain hide the girls?
  2. How do we know that the girls are determined not to become slaves again?
  3. Who were the two men that the captain shoved onto the plank?
  4. How does Liza react when she arrives in Canada?

Vocabulary: schooner, plank, despair, bleak, flask, pungent, lapsed, ushered.

Enrichment: Would you prefer to be a poorly treated free person or a well treated slave? Explain your answer.


Chapter 19

  1. Who is Ezra Wilson?
  2. How long would the trip to St. Catharines take?
  3. Who worked at the Welland House Hotel in St. Catharines?
  4. Who was Julilly surprised to see in the kitchen?
  5. Did the white people of St. Catharines welcome the blacks into their community?

Vocabulary: sullen, apprehension, curtly, cadence.

Enrichment: Many Canadians feel that there is racism in the United States but that very little exists in Canada. Is this statement true or false? Some people feel this book should be censored. What is your view?


To go to page suitable for printing, click on printer icon. Click here to go to page suitable for printing

Copyright 1999

Created by Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

Click here for a complete list of the novels