Page 51. " Let bookworms gnaw his entrails... "

Book curses were a regular feature in books and libraries during the medieval period, when the hand-written manuscripts were considered extremely valuable and therefore irresistible to thieves. This particular curse is in fact a hoax from the 20th century, but there are a few more examples of the kinds of things that scribes and librarians wished on their enemies here.

Page 55. " Like Alice in Wonderland, she thought, patting the bed linen "

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, is the tale of a little girl's adventures in a strange fantasy world. Here, Meggie is referring to the number of times that Alice eats and drinks things which shrink her, or make her grow much larger than usual. Here's a montage of all these scenes, from the Disney adaptation of the story.

Page 57. " there stood Dustfinger, looking lost to the world, and juggling "

Juggling is a great hobby and can apparently even improve your brain power- why not learn to do it yourself?

Page 61. " It contained pictures of the strangest of insects "

Green insect
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGreen insect - Credit: Srinivasan G.
Try here for some really weird insects right here on your computer. A warning, though: this isn't for the faint hearted!

Page 66. " He took a match out of the box, struck it, and popped the flame into his open mouth "

Fire eating is a fascinating and dangerous form of entertainment which is still performed by people today, although few fire eaters can claim to be quite as in-tune with the fire that they perform with as Dustfinger is. For a brief history and demonstration of modern day fire eating, here's a video with some of the basics in.