Study Guide—Who Do Voodoo?

Study Guide: Who Do Voodoo?

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book and your own research. Seek and you shall find!


Chapters 1-7

1. Compare and contrast how Phil and Nestor are the same and different. Which one would you rather have as a friend? Why? Phil is disturbed by some things he’s experiencing. What clues do we have that something is amiss?

2. Suspense is when the reader feels anxious or worried about the characters and what might happen next. Which events in Chapter 3 – Chapter 7 help build suspense?

Tell about a time when you felt afraid or worried. What caused your nervousness? What steps did you take to calm yourself down? In what ways are Phil and Nestor’s actions the same or different from how you reacted when you were in a tense situation?

3. What does Phil hope to accomplish by his trip to New Orleans? Pretend you are Phil who is now able to send a text message to his parents. What would the text message say?

4. Things are not making sense at the St. Pierre household. List the strange things that are happening. What inconsistencies appear? What do you believe is the biggest clue that Phil might be in over his head? The boys are in a tough position. Phil is embarrassed by his family’s behavior. With hospitality sadly lacking, the boys are told to spend the day sightseeing. What alternatives, if any, are open to them?

In what ways do Madame Destiny’s words tie-in with the strange events the boys are encountering?

Predict some things that might happen later in the story. Support your answer with details from the book.

5. We know Angel has beady eyes, but that’s all the description we have. Design a T-shirt with the face you imagine for Angel in the center, surrounded by five words or phrases that tell what he’s all about.

Describe Phil and Nestor’s friendship. What do you notice about the way they treat each other? What can we learn about friendship from observing their behavior?


Chapters 8-13.

1. Why do you think Phil is so obsessed with being viewed as a hero? What qualities do heroes have that set them apart from other people? How are heroes generally treated in society? What examples can you think of where people went out of their way to destroy a hero’s life? If you don’t know any real life situations, use movie or TV heroes to answer the question. What conclusions can you make about the problems heroes might face?

2. What beliefs, practices and celebrations are associated with the residents of New Orleans? How are they the same or different from your family’s belief system? What would happen if your family moved to New Orleans? Send an email message to your best friend back home telling about a typical day in your new life.

3. What do the boys learn at Mardi Gras World? What conclusions can we draw from the care and attention that goes in to the Mardi Gras celebration? In your opinion, is it worth all the trouble? Defend your position.

4. The boys make a new friend, Colette, whose father is a detective with the New Orleans Police Department. What part could they play in helping Phil find answers to his questions? Predict some possible events that might occur now that these two characters have been introduced.

5. At this point, what clues do we have that something is very off with Phil’s relatives in New Orleans? Phil wants to stick around until he can get to the bottom of all this strange behavior. To which clues has Phil not paid enough attention? What recommendations can you make to help Phil figure out what’s going on? Why do you believe the St. Pierre family is acting so strangely? Support your answer.


Chapters 14-20

1. Explain the difference between a swamp and a bayou. Define wetlands, and give examples with definitions. What important roles do cypress and tupelo gum trees play in maintaining the wetlands ecosystem? What is an ecosystem?

Where does chewing gum come from, anyway? (Hint: not the store)

Why are wetlands important? How would the destruction of the wetlands affect the environment? Which creatures are capable of destroying the balance of nature in the wetlands of Louisiana? Explain.

In what ways does urban expansion impact wetlands and coastal regions?


2. Barataria Bay is an area rich in natural resources. Why would unscrupulous people have a special interest in acquiring rights in this location?

In many respects, Pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte were shrewd businessmen, despite their mostly illegal practices. In what ways did they demonstrate their strategic thinking? Use details from the story and your own research to support your answer.

Phil envisions an action plan based on his findings about Jean and Pierre Lafitte’s tactical maneuvering. Predict some different ways Phil might implement the pirates’ behavior into a plan of his own.

The War of 1812—Which groups were involved in the conflict? Causes? Effects? Famous generals? Four men who later became US presidents? Why was the Battle of New Orleans fought after the peace treaty was being discussed? Britain and America both claim to have won the conflict known in America as the War of 1812. Defend or refute the claims of one of the sides of the conflict.


3. What is your opinion of Colette’s plan for the boys? What do you foresee going wrong?

What qualities are necessary to be a good detective? How do Colette, Phil, and Nestor measure up to this standard?

In your opinion, is the police officer’s presence at Daisy Dukes a coincidence or part of a plan? Support your answer.

Defend or refute Phil’s decision not to involve any adults in his investigation. Support your answer.


4. What is fracking? How is it harmful to the environment? What obstacles would opponents of fracking have to overcome in order to prevent corporations from overtaking land for their own purposes?


5. Jennifer, the waitress, appears as a hovering presence during Phil and Nestor’s visits to Daisy Dukes. What might her role in the story be? Is she a force for good, or for evil? Support your answer.


Chapters 21-25

1. Phil has found the secret passageway to the basement. Phil is acting brave and confident. Nestor goes along, but expresses doubts about their safety. Build a case for Phil’s bold actions, and Nestor’s misgivings. Use facts from the story.

What was The Underground Railroad? List each state in the route. In which states would runaway slaves and conductors most likely and least likely find help? Why? Evaluate the success of this escape system. What influence did Harriet Tubman have on the lives of slaves and on the success of the North during the American Civil War? Pretend you are Harriet Tubman. Send a secret coded message to a loyal contact in the South, describing your latest success in sequestering a slave family on their journey from New Orleans to Ohio.


2. What surprises you about the actions  and behaviors of the family of imposters—Mabel, Sam and Angel? Track their behavior from the beginning to this point in the story.

3. In Chapter 23, Phil and Nestor find Aunt Delphine, Uncle Antoine, and Belle being held prisoners. This chapter does not have a happy ending. Re-write this chapter with an optimistic, but realistic conclusion.

4. In what ways are Aunt Delphine and Uncle Antoine different from the people who are impersonating them? What do their speech patterns and word choices tell us about them?

5. Use your imagination, but be realistic. Predict what might happen next in the story. Who are the characters who might miraculously appear in the nick of time to save the group from a very sad ending? What role might each of them play in the rescue?

Chapters 26-31

1. Propose an alternative ending. Go as far back in the story as necessary to prepare a reader for the new ending. Use dialogue and narrative.

2. Elements of Mystery

Characters    – the detective, the culprit, and minor
characters who provide clues
Suspects         – the characters who are possibly  guilty
Setting             – a place that lends itself to a feeling of
uneasiness and concern
Problem         – a crime or puzzle is presented
Plot                   – the clear beginning, middle, and end of the story; clues and false clues (distractions) are presented
Distractions  – lead the detective away from the truth; also called red herrings
Suspense        – events that make the reader worry about the main character(s)
Solution          – all necessary clues must be included in the story so the detective   and the reader can participate in a satisfactory unriddling


Analyze and apply the elements of mystery with details found in the book. See how the story follows the genre requirements. Be sure to re-write the list of elements and assign specific events from the story next to the element that it exemplifies.


3. Now, create your own mystery story. First, make a story outline by using the elements of mystery as listed in Question 2 and fill in your own ideas. Write at least 500 words. Be sure to use dialogue and narrative.


4.You can imagine Phil’s parents’ reactions to hearing the story of their son’s imprisonment at the hands of such unscrupulous people. Create a dialogue between Phil and his mother after Phil returns to New York City.

Ms. Williams:
Ms. Williams:
Ms. Williams

Now keep the conversation going.


5.Let’s take a good look at the story. Which characters are essential to the plot? Why? Think of two characters whose presence does not change the story in any way. What roles do these characters play in the story?

Take a look at Phil’s poem about New Orleans found in the last pages of Chapter 31. Use another modality to express Phil’s perceptions of this beloved city. Compose a song, draw a picture, design an outfit, construct a model or write a play to capture Phil’s memories  of his experience.

True or false? If Phil were to be in the same set of circumstances in the future, he would act exactly the same as he does in the story. Support your answer.

All rights reserved 2020










Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

March 2023
%d bloggers like this: