The Twistrose Key

Written by: Tone Almhjell

Illustrated by: Ian Schoenherr

For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about The Twistrose Key and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!


Something is wrong in the house that Lin's family has rented; Lin is sure of it. The clocks tick too slowly. Frost covers the flowerbed, even in a rain storm. And when a secret key marked "Twistrose" arrives for her, Lin finds a crack in the cellar, a gate to the world of Sylver.
This frozen realm is the home of every dead animal who ever loved a child. Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with Rufus, the pet she buried under the rosebush. But together they must find the missing Winter Prince in order to save Sylver from destruction.
They are not the only ones hunting for the boy this night. In the dark hides a shadow-lipped man, waiting for the last Winter Prince to be delivered into his hands.
Exhilarating suspense and unforgettable characters await the readers of this magical adventure, destined to become a classic. (Publisher)

Pre-Reading Activity

KWL Chart

Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.

What I Know

After reading the description on the back cover and front sleeve, let your child think about what s/he already knows about the story. Who are the main characters, what do they have in common, etc?

What I Want to Know

Include questions that your child might have about the plot, characters and setting. 

Maintain a Vocabulary Journal

Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to an unfamiliar word. See if s/he can discover its meaning by using context clues like prefixes and suffixes as well as the words surrounding it.  Be sure to keep a “Vocabulary Journal” nearby when reading so that your child can write down new words, that s/he has either already defined or wishes to look up in the dictionary.

Discussion Questions

  1. What genre does this story fall under? What are the common characteristics of this genre? What lesson can be learned from this story?
  2. What is the Twistrose Key and where does it lead? Why do you think the the parcel was sent to Lin?
  3. How does Lin feel when she moves to a new town?
  4. How would you describe the world of Sylver? Are there any elements of the setting that make you think of someplace else (real or fictional)? Would you want to visit Sylver? Why or why not?
  5. Do you have a pet that has passed away? If so, how did it feel when s/he passed away? Whether you have a pet that has died or how, how do you think you would react if you saw that pet again like Lin does with Rufus? Is this similar to or different from how Lin reacted?
  6. Why is it so important for Lin to find the last Winter Prince? What would the consequences have been?
  7. How is Lin able to save Sylver?


Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!

Extending the Story

If you found a key that could lead you to anywhere at all, where would it be? What would you find there? Would there be a conflict there that you would have to resolve? Create your own background story to your key and try to incorporate some of those words that you jotted down in your vocabulary journal. Also, design and create the key that you envision. Use paper, construction paper, plastic or cardboard, and any other materials that you have at your disposal.