Prologue–Chapter 3

In the first volume of the popular The Land of Stories series, siblings Alex and Conner are magically transported into the world of fairy tales.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. spare
    refrain from harming
    “Am I supposed to thank you for sparing me?” the Evil Queen asked.
  2. naivete
    lack of sophistication or worldliness
    Naïveté is such a privileged trait,” she said.
  3. degrade
    reduce in worth or character, usually verbally
    I will continue to be degraded into nothing but a grotesque villain until the end of time. But what the world fails to realize is that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.
  4. grotesque
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size
    I will continue to be degraded into nothing but a grotesque villain until the end of time. But what the world fails to realize is that a villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.
  5. accustomed
    in the habit of or adapted to
    The way the other students stared at their teacher, as if the lesson being taught were in another language, was something Mrs. Peters had never grown accustomed to.
  6. exposure
    the act of subjecting someone to an influencing experience
    The only exposure to the tales some children acquire are versions bastardized by film companies.
  7. reciprocate
    act, feel, or give mutually or in return
    She tried to share her disapproval with her fellow classmates but, sadly, her concern was not reciprocated.
  8. delinquent
    a young offender
    I wonder if delinquents would be so inclined to misbehave if they knew about the consequences Goldilocks caused for herself with the Three Bears.
  9. inclined
    having a preference, disposition, or tendency
    I wonder if delinquents would be so inclined to misbehave if they knew about the consequences Goldilocks caused for herself with the Three Bears.
  10. steep
    greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
    “In exchange for turning the hay into gold, the maiden promised to give Rumpelstiltskin her first-born child when she became queen,” Alex explained.
    “That’s a pretty steep deal,” said a boy behind Alex.
  11. divert
    send on a course different from the planned or intended one
    Mrs. Peters diverted her attention to him like a paper clip to a magnet.
  12. stern
    serious and harsh in manner or behavior
    “I’m so glad you could rejoin us, Mr. Bailey,” Mrs. Peters said sternly. “Did you have a nice nap?”
  13. unanimous
    acting together as a single undiversified whole
    “For homework,” Mrs. Peters said, and the room unanimously slumped in their seats, “you are to pick your favorite fairy tale and write a paper, due tomorrow, on the real lesson the tale is trying to teach us.”
  14. forte
    an asset of special worth or utility
    As much as this daily routine annoyed Conner, he knew he was the only person in the world Alex had to talk to, so he tried his best to listen. But listening had never been Conner’s forte.
  15. intrigue
    cause to be interested or curious
    “Interesting selection,” Alex said, intrigued. “What do you suppose the moral of that story is?”
  16. reprimand
    censure severely or angrily
    “Be serious, Conner! That is not the moral of ‘Sleeping Beauty,”’ she reprimanded.
  17. spindle
    a stick or pin used to twist the yarn when making thread
    She was so sheltered, she didn’t even know what the danger was, and she still pricked her finger on the first spindle she ever saw.
  18. deranged
    driven insane
    “And in your deranged mind, what do you think the lesson of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ is?”
  19. hysterical
    marked by excessive or uncontrollable emotion
    “Bad beans can cause more than indigestion,” he answered, laughing hysterically to himself.
  20. construe
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
    “Why do you say that?” Alex asked, wondering how he could have possibly construed that from the story.
  21. persecute
    cause to suffer
    “By publicly persecuting me, they’re filling an insecure void caused by social and domestic neglect.”
  22. void
    an empty area or space
    “By publicly persecuting me, they’re filling an insecure void caused by social and domestic neglect.”
  23. prominent
    having a quality that thrusts itself into attention
    The worry lines on her forehead became very prominent.
  24. blatantly
    in a completely obvious manner
    Would her teacher notice if Alex quickly filled in a couple of answers for her brother? Was Alex even capable of doing something so blatantly wrong?
  25. prone
    having a tendency
    Alex was prone to over-thinking everything, so she just did it; she quickly filled in some of her brother’s answers, making her handwriting slightly sloppier than it usually was, and handed the stack of tests to Mrs. Peters.
  26. spontaneous
    said or done without having been planned in advance
    It was the most spontaneous thing she had ever done.
  27. impromptu
    without advance preparation
    The teacher regularly surprised the class with impromptu presentations to keep them on their toes.
  28. virtually
    slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but
    “So, I selected the story the theme of which is present in virtually every fairy tale and every story ever written, ‘Cinderella’!”
  29. pathological
    caused by or evidencing a mentally disturbed condition
    “Maybe if his parents had kept an eye on him, he wouldn’t have been eaten. I think the story is trying to tell us to keep an eye on our kids, especially if they’re pathological liars. Thank you.”
  30. intuition
    instinctive knowing, without the use of rational processes
    Mr. Bailey always knew when his son needed to talk to him. It didn’t have anything to do with observation or intuition, but with location.
  31. contemplative
    deeply or seriously thoughtful
    Occasionally, Mr. Bailey would get home from work and find his son sitting up in the oak tree in the front yard with a contemplative look on his face.
  32. extravagant
    recklessly wasteful
    Even if they had the most extravagant party in the world waiting for them at home, birthdays were always going to be hard for them.
  33. foreclose
    take away the right of mortgagors to redeem their mortgage
    “Even after selling the bookstore, the house foreclosed, and we still have some debt and things unpaid from the funeral. But we’re making it somehow. In a few more months we’ll be back on our feet.”
  34. monotonous
    tediously repetitious or lacking in variety
    “I’ve never met a person I didn’t learn something from!” Grandma said. “Even the most monotonous people will surprise you. Remember that.”
  35. disheartened
    made less hopeful or enthusiastic
    “Oh, kiddos, if I could spend every day with you, I would,” Grandma said longingly, perhaps more disheartened than she intended to show.
Created on August 10, 2019 (updated August 13, 2019)

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