Blitz by Robert Westall

By Howard Richardson,2014-08-17 11:38
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Blitz by Robert Westall


    by Robert Westall

The Ruined City of Kor, pages 9 15

    Where do you think this story is set?

    When do you think the story is set? Why?

    Where did the timber yards move their wood piles to?

Why do you think they did this?

What does “shinning up the ladders” mean?

    Was the Ruined City of Kor a real city?

What was Kor made from?

What had made people think there would not be an air raid that night?

What does “old hands at air raids” mean?

What did the author mean when he asked Albert “Dig in”?

What do you think Albert meant when he said “It‟ll only get you if it‟s got your number

    on it.”

What was a “Jerry”?

What does “dwindling” mean?

Describe Kor.


    by Robert Westall

The Ruined City of Kor, pages 16 25

    How did the boys know that it was British plane?

Why was the author “edging” towards the plane?

Who were the “Brylcreem Boys” and why do you think they were called that?

    Why were the boys scared to give the pilot a cigarette?

Do you think the boys were brave or stupid to go near the plane if they thought it was

    going to explode?

Why was the pilot wearing silk stockings?

Why would the boys have been in trouble if they had followed the airman and


    Why do did the boys keep the events to themselves?

    How do you think they would have felt afterwards?

Do you think this is a true story? Why?

    How do you think the author feels as he retells the story?

What would you have done in the boys‟ situation?


    by Robert Westall

The Thing Upstairs, pages 29 35

    What was making the vapour trails in the sky?

    Why were the Germans photographing England?

Where do you think this story is set? Why?

What does “Hemming the British in.” mean?

Why do you think the word is repeated to say “Hemming their dads in”?

What does „disparagingly” mean?

    Why do you think the Bren carrier drew so much attention?

Do you think the boys were disappointed by the contents of the Bren carrier?

Why do you think the Head wanted to get the Bren carrier removed?

    Why do you think it was there in the first place?

Why was Maggie worried about her mum?

How did Maggie‟s mum normally look?

What does “many fervent thanks” mean?

What does “ominous” mean?


    by Robert Westall

The Thing Upstairs, pages 35 41

    Why did Maggie think that her mum had gone out?

Was it a comfort to her? Why?

    Who were the old friend that Maggie sought comfort from?

    Why was the creaking ceiling different this time?

    What made Maggie think that there was someone up in the loft?

Why did Maggie assume it was a “he” in the loft?

How would you feel in Maggie‟s situation?

    What did the sleeping man look like at first?

    Why had the hole in the sock made Maggie feel bolder?

How do you think Maggie felt when the “huge handed descended”?

Why do you think her Dad was in the loft?


    by Robert Westall

The Thing Upstairs, pages 41 45

Why did Maggie‟s dad say it “wretchedly”?

What happened to Martha?

    What had happened to Maggie‟s dad to make him not want to go back?

What was “a deserter?”

Why was this “Bad beyond belief”?

    Why did Maggie suddenly hate him so much?

How would you feel in her dad‟s position?

Why do you think her mum was pretending in front of the police when she was

    brought home?

    Why do you think her dad went back to the army?

    Why do you think that evening was never mentioned again?

Describe how Maggie‟s feelings changed through the story.


    by Robert Westall

Operation Cromwell, pages 49 55

Where is this story set?

Why did they have to stop their business?

    “Where would the running of the war have been if those high-ranking officers didn‟t have their proper food?” – How do you think this is meant?

What was a Black Marketeer?

Why did the car need a special boot?

Why does the author call the volunteers “a million nuisances”?

What does the description “bellow like a bull” make you think of his voice?

    Why was their armoured car only good for road blocks?

What were the Home Guard looking for?

    What did the author‟s dad to try to keep up the butter-smuggling? Why?

“Butter greased us a smooth path through the war?” What do you think the author

    meant by this?

What is a “fanatic”?

    Why was Auntie Maude brought in to help?

Do you think the author meant “fatal” literally? Why?

    Why was the ringing of church bells forbidden?

What is tinnitus?

Why did Dad not like the hunt?

Why did the girl‟s voice remind the author of the local hunt?

    What made the girl so sure that the Invasion had started?


    by Robert Westall

Operation Cromwell, pages 56 66

What did it mean to “do your bit”?

Why did the policemen requisition the car?

    Why did the author want to cheer as the British tank went passed?

    How was everyone feeling at the thought of the invasion starting?

Do you think there really was an invasion? Why?

What did “Cromwell” actually mean?

What did the author mean by “it was like walking into the lion‟s den”?

Why were they so worried about being found out?

    What do you think the policemen were going to do with the butter?

    Describe in your own words why 1940 was a bad year for the family.


    by Robert Westall

Rosie, pages 69 - 73

Why was Rosie proud of being an ARP warden?

Why do you think she lied about her age?

What is “comradeship”?

How had the war changed her life?

    Why were the men from other countries around?

Why do you think that the presence of her gas mask and tin hat was reassuring to


What is meant by “the usual sinking feeling”?

Why wasn‟t she worried?

Why would Rosie‟s mum be out during the raid?

    How do you think Rosie was feeling as she walked through the area?

What part of speech is “shrapnel shrieking down like dead rockets on Bonfire Night”?

    Do you think this was successful?

Why was this a “totally miserable” shelter?


    by Robert Westall

Rosie, pages 73 - 79

    Why do you think this shelter was different from other ones Rosie had been in?

What do you think a “poverty-battered face” looks like?

What does it mean by “hardly anybody‟s boat came in”?

Why did Rosie feel she had been lucky?

Why was the light unusual?

Why was mains electricity not allowed in shelters?

    When Rosie realised that the light was coming form the people, how do you think she felt?

Why did Rosie run?

What made Rosie stop running?

Why is the word yellow written in italics?

    Why do you think the other warden flinched at the thought of the Mellor Street shelter?

Why do you think the author stopped the story there?

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