Written By: Sally Warner
Illustrated By: Brian Biggs
For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about Ellray Jakes the Dragon Slayer and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
Ellray likes to think of himself as a good big brother so when he sees his little sister, Alfie, being teased by girls at preschool, he is curious as to what is going on. When they get home, he discovers that Suzette, one of Alfie’s classmates, has rallied the other children against her and that they are all treating her as if she is invisible. Ellray is disturbed by this fact and decides to write about Alfie’s predicament for a class assignment. He creates a plan to stop the bullying and when speaking to Suzette nicely and asking her to stop the teasing doesn’t work, he resorts to threatening to tell everyone at her future kindergarten that she is a bedwetter. This is when Suzette realizes that this lie is just like the lie she told her classmates about Alfie being invisible, and she doesn’t lie about Alfie again. While dealing with Alfie’s problems, he is also dealing with his own classmates and finds himself in a particularly tough game of kickball that results in a name-calling boy named Stanley getting his glasses broken by Ellray. Ellray later gets accused of bullying Stanley but it turns out that Stanley is only lying about the bullying to minimize his father’s anger. The story comes full circle with Ellray picking Alfie up from school but this time she is playing merrily with Suzette and the other girls, and Ellray is content watching her happily running to him so that they can go home.
- When did Ellray first realize that something was wrong with Alfie? What is their relationship as brother and sister like? Do you think he is a good brother? Why?
- How was Alfie being bullied? Who was doing it?
- How would you describe Suzette? Do you know someone like her? Has that person ever been unkind to you or another person you know? If so, how did you deal with that person?
- How did Ellray first try to get Suzette to stop bullying Alfie? When that didn’t work, what did he do? How did Suzette react? Do you think what he did was right?
- What happened during the kickball game that Ellray played?
- Why did Stanley say that Ellray had been bullying him for awhile? Is it true? What did Ellray do when he was asked about it? Why?
- How does the story end? Do you think it was a good ending? Why or why not? If you could rewrite this ending, what would you change?
Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!
Extending the Story
Ellray is assigned to write a personal narrative about an important event. What is a personal narrative? Try writing one yourself using the guidelines given in the story: What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Can you give us some details about it? How did it end? For some ideas on how to start, look at pages 31-34 for the essay that Ellray wrote.