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A Listening Library Study Guide


A. Have the class define and discuss these terms:

cloisters, novice, feigning, scourge, horde, loathsome, nocturnal, carnage, omens, plunder, sanctuary, camouflage, ramparts, parapet, infirmary, strategy, diabolical, siege, basilisk, obsidian, wraith, diversion, barbaric, gallant, hasp, adder, sibilant, spasmodic, venomous, malicious, vanguard, vixen, espionage, chagrin, surveillance, intrepid, stealth, decoy, tyrant, despot, pandemonium, soothsayer, guerrilla, quarry, decimated, holocaust, nemesis, cul-de-sac, fiasco, maelstrom


by Brian Jacques

When villainous Cluny the Scourge attempts to capture the ancient abbey, Redwall, the heroic young mouse, Matthias, rises above his fears and failures to save his friends and keep Redwall free.

and Sam stop the battering ram? What goes wrong when Constance attempts to kill Cluny? Why is Captain Snow so willing to agree to Matthias's wager? Who helps Matthias find Asmodeus's lair? Where does Matthias find the sword? How do the mice and other animals defeat Cluny's next plan to get into Redwall? What saves Matthias from being hypnotized by Asmodeus's gaze? What does Matthias say as he strikes the snake? What advice does Julian give Matthias about the sword? How does Cluny finally get into Redwall? How does Matthias find out about it? How is Cluny killed?

B. Before beginning the story, discuss the following questions with the class:

1. Do you enjoy tales of adventure? What are some of your favorites? 2. What would you say are the qualities of a hero? What are the qualities of a villain? 3. How would you define courage? 4. What is the difference between a tyrant and a leader? Can you name some tyrants of the past and present?

B. For Discussion:

1. Compare Cluny's leadership with the way Redwall is defended. Would you say Redwall has a leader? If so, who would it be? If not, how are they able to organize? 2. A line from a poem by Robert Burns goes, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." Would this be a good theme for Redwall? Why or why not? 3. Find examples of how Cluny continually underestimates the intelligence both of his enemies and his own army. How would you estimate Cluny's intelligence? 4. When Cornflower accidentally spills boiling water on Cluny, Constance remarks "No side uses fire as a weapon." Why not? How would this rule change war today? 5. How do the dreams in the story foreshadow coming events?


fantasy, courage, adventure, problem-solving, friendship, responsibility, leadership, betrayal, democracy


A. Understanding the Story:

1. Begin with Book One: "The Wall": How is Methuselah's version of Martin the Warrior different from the one told by the abbot? What does Cluny ask Shadow to do? Why is this important? How does Basil help Matthias in his mission? How do the mice keep the rats from attacking the abbey? What does Methuselah find on the wall where the tapestry had been? 2. Advance to Book Two: "The Quest": Why does Cluny's plan to get into the abbey fail? What do Matthias and Methuselah find in the chamber under the stairs? What goes wrong when Jess tries to get the sword from the weathervane? How does the climb up to the loft change the relationship between Matthias and Warbeak? How do Jess and Basil get the piece of tapestry back? How does Dunwing help Matthias escape from the sparrows? How does the fox repay the kindness shown him at the abbey? What tactical error has Cluny made? 3. Complete the story with Book Three: "The Warrior": What is Cluny's biggest fault as a leader? How do Jess


Give students the opportunity to work with partners, groups, the whole class, or alone.


A. Language Arts:

1. Have students put together a character list featuring the different traits of the main characters. Matthias is kind, heroic, courageous, far-sighted, and noble. Cluny evil, cunning, unfair, and untrustworthy. Have students find words to describe the other characters. 2. Have students write about a particularly vivid dream they have had and share it with the class. They might start a "dream journal" and record dreams they

Middle Grade Unabridged Audio


4. 5. 6.

7. 8.


remember when they wake up. They could try to figure out what the dream means and where it came from. In their most perilous situations, the defenders of Redwall are able to draw on their sense of humor. Have students think of times when their sense of humor helped them get through embarrassing or dangerous situations. Then have them write about an embarrassing moment to share with the class. Have students listen to the chapter endings. How does the author entice the reader want to go on to the next chapter? Have students read other stories of famous knights, like King Arthur, Roland, or Charlemagne. Have them make a list of traits a knight must have. Have students student read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien or see the movies. How does this epic compare with Redwall? Other students might read Watership Down by Richard Adams. How does this compare with Redwall? Share with the class the story of the Trojan Horses from Homer's The Illiad to compare with how Cluny was able to get into Redwall. As students listen to the tape, have them notice how each cast member captures the voices of the animals. Ask students: Do they sound the way you would picture this animals speaking? Author Brian Jacques often uses riddles in his Redwall series. Some are anagrams such as in Redwall where the words "Am that is" are an anagram for the name Matthias. Using the characters in the books, create your own anagrams.

depicting the Norman Conquest. Why were tapestries created? What do they tell us about society in the middle ages? How do they help us understand history? Another group could find pictures of famous castles and fortresses. 2. Have students research weapons used in war before the invention of gunpowder. How did the invention of gunpowder change the way war was fought? 3. The snake Asmodeus represents an ancient evil, older than Cluny's tyranny. Have students research the role of snakes in religion and myth throughout the ages. Discuss why the snake may have been singled out for this role. 4. Have students select a dictator, like Franco of Spain, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, or Saddam Hussein to learn more about either through web research or biographies in the library. Why were they considered to be "dictators"?

Theme Related Reading and Listening:

Listening Library offers additional titles that explore similar themes and content areas. Use the information below to purchase audiobooks from our extensive list of awardwinning and popular titles to enhance the learning experience for students in every classroom or library. Other titles students may enjoy:

· · · · · Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling · Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques · Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales by Brian Jacques · Time Stops for No Mouse: A Hermux Tantamoq AdventureTM by Michael Hoeye

D. Science and Math:

1. Have students select one of the animals from the story, such as ferrets, stoats, snakes, rats, badgers, foxes, hares, or shrews, and research the behavior and characteristics of these animals. Compare these with the way the animal is depicted in the story. Has the author remained true to the characteristics of the animal? 2. Have students find out how rats caused the plague known as the Black Death. Why don't we hear about cases of this today? What other diseases are caused/ carried by animals or insects?

B. Art and Music:

1. Assign a group to select records, tapes, or CDs from the library that serve as appropriate background music to some of the scenes. They might listen to some Old English ballads and even compose some of their own as background to scenes in the story. 2. Have students make a bulletin board about the story. Have them show Redwall is under siege, Cluny's camp, the quarry where Asmodeus lives. Have them draw pictures of each animal involved in the battle. 3. Have the class create a tapestry of the story for the room or the hallway.


When it comes to teaching today's students, sometimes books are just not enough. In an increasingly technological and information-savvy world, the ability to read will be critical to every child's success. The value of audiobooks as a learning tool in the education of children is widely recognized by experts. Audiobooks bring written text to life, adding an interactive quality that can ignite a child's imagination. They encourage reading by broadening vocabularies, stretching attention spans, and fostering critical-thinking skills. Listening to audiobooks in the classroom can effectively enrich the reading experience and aid your students in understanding and appreciating literature, history, theatre arts, and more!

For a FREE school and library catalog of Listening Library's unabridged productions: · · · · · Call TOLL FREE 1-800-733-3000 FAX us at 1-800-940-7046 email us at [email protected] visit our website at or write: Books on Tape 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019

© 2008 Listening Library

C. Social Studies:

1. Have students find pictures of famous tapestries in medieval history, such as the Bayeaux Tapestry,


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