READ the short passages below from George Toudouze's Three Skeleton Key. DISCUSS what you find interesting in the passages as you prepare a prediction for the story. SUPPORT your predictions with evidence from the passage, personal experiences or prior knowledge.

CREATE a comic strip with at least three panels that clearly expresses your team's story prediction based on the excerpts below. The questions are to help you begin your "thinking" process.

The Storyboard template below may help you organize your prediction comic strip. Feel free to use the blank paper on your table as "sketch paper".

Reading Passages

My most terrifying experience? Well, one does have a few in thirty-five years of service in the Lights, although it’s mostly monotonous, routine work—keeping the light in order, making out the reports.
*Describe the type of story Three Skeleton Key will be.

Three Skeleton Key, the small rock on which the light stood, bore a bad reputation. It earned its name from the story of the three convicts who, escaping from Cayenne in a stolen dugout canoe, were wrecked on the rock during the night, managed to escape the sea, but eventually died of hunger and thirst. When they were discovered, nothing remained but three heaps of bones, picked clean by the birds. The story was that the three skeletons, gleaming with phosphorescent light, danced over the small rock, screaming...
*Look at the foreshadowing clues here? What do these clues hint at?

The rats of the sea are fierce, bold animals. Large, strong, and intelligent, clannish and seawise, able to put the best of mariners to shame with their knowledge of the sea, their uncanny ability to foretell the weather. And they are brave, these rats, and vengeful. If you so much as harm one, his sharp cry will bring hordes of his fellows to swarm over you, tear you, and not cease until your flesh has been stripped from the bones.
*What roles will the rats play in this story? Explore the feelings the presence of rats creates for you as a reader.

Their teeth grated as they pressed against the glass of the lantern room, where they could plainly see us, though they could not reach us. A few millimeters of glass, luckily very strong, separated our faces from their gleaming, beady eyes, their sharp claws and teeth. Their odor filled the tower, poisoned our lungs, and rasped our nostrils with a pestilential, nauseating smell. And there we were, sealed alive in our own light, prisoners of a horde of starving rats.
*Which words appeal to your senses of sight, smell, and hearing? Why might the writer have chosen to describe the rats in such detail?

At two in the morning, while Itchoua was dozing in his room, the sheet of metal sealing his window gave way. The chief had just time enough to leap to his feet and cry for help, the rats swarming over him.
*Describe the emotions this passage creates.


  • Use to create your comic strip. Your completed comic strip should be your prediction for Three Skeleton Key based on the passage excerpts above.
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