One Book – One School

We have just begun our book ” Friend or Foe” with 4th , 5th and 6th classes. We would love families to read along with us at home and we will update this page regularly with discussion topics.

It’s time to choose: friendship, family or loyalty to the cause.

When Emer Davey saves her neighbour Jack Madigan from drowning, it seems that they will be friends forever. But eight months later, they find themselves on opposite sides in a life-or-death struggle, as Dublin is torn apart by the Easter Rising.

Emer’s father is an officer in the Irish Volunteers who believes that armed rebellion is the only way to gain independence from Britain. His daughter has inherited his passion and is determined to help the rebels in any way she can.

Jack’s dad is a sergeant in the Dublin Metropolitan Police. They share a deep respect for the law and are sure that Home Rule can be achieved through peaceful politics and helping with the war effort.

These two young friends find their loyalties challenged as the terrifying reality of war sets in – and the Rising hits closer to home than either could have imagined.


Prologue read by Brian Gallagher

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The Story so Far

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SMLE-no4A prologue is an introductory chapter to a book. In the prologue we meet Emer , a young girl  who is carrying a message to the rebels..

  1. Do you think this is a good introduction to Friend or Foe?  Why?

  2.  Think of  five words to describe Emer.

  3. Do you think that  the soldier right to shoot at Emer?   Why?

  4.  Find words in the prologue that mean

                  A quick retreat


                  Walked quickly

                  Ran down Cuckoo lane

                  Frowning soldier


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We read chapter one today at school . We go back a year in time and we meet Jack and  get to know a little about his background. We also read about the time  he nearly drowned

  • Try to remember  five things about Jack

  • How do you think Jack’s family is different to Emer’s family?

  • Find words in chapter 1 that mean

In Danger

Pulled him

To grip her safely

A rush of fear




Threw out the water

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In chapter two we get a glimpse inside the homes of Jack and Emer.

  1. Why were Emer’s family wary of Jack’s ?

  2. Jack at first thought the war was a great adventure.  He said he approved of the war but was he changing his mind and why?

In chapter two find a word that means:

  • guiding

  • warned

  • hobbies

  • gloomy

  • deciding

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  1. Why did Jack not want his father to know what had happened in the river? Was he being dishonest when he spoke to his Dad?

  2. Do you think Jack is a persuasive boy?

Find  a word that might mean:

  • delight

  • honesty

  • paused

  • on purpose

  • flattery

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In Chapter 4 ,

  1. All the children in the story so far are well off except for Gerry.  How is life different for Gerry and how did Emer help him?

  2. A lot of people are beginning to take sides . Think about who  you have met in the story so far and  what side they will have to take. Do you think anyone will be caught in the midde?

Find words in chapter 4 that might mean

  • animal food

  • innocent

  • lately

  • run down

  • cruelly

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  1. Why were Emer’s parents against her joining na Fianna ? Were their reasons fair?

  2. Emer and Jack discuss their politics for the first time. Think about their points of view. Do you think it will be possible for them to stay friends by agreeing to disagree ?  Are their differences too great?

  3. Who were the UVF and what were they against?

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Think about how Dublin seems to be divided by politics and class .  In what way was life different for Jack and Gerry?

Do you think Emer would have any sympathy for Jacks relatives who were fighting in the war?

What words might mean

  • a good description  page 63

  • said goodbye   page 63

  • good humour  page 69

  • a kind act   page 70

  • slums     page 73

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 In what way were the characters in the story full of contradictions ?

What did the Suffragettes wants?

What words might mean

  • sparkled  page 75

  • not co operating    page 76

  • taunt  page 77

  • begin   page 79

  • slums     page 73

  • upper class  page 81

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