Written by:Adam Blade
Illustrated by:Ezra Tucker
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 Ferno:The Fire Dragon (Beast Quest Series #1) and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
Tom is training to become a blacksmith in the kingdom of Avantia but in his spare time, he has sword fights with imaginary opponents, waiting and hoping for the day when he will be sent out on a quest like a true knight. His wish is granted when his village falls into mortal danger. Their horses have been attacked, their crops have been burned and their river has dried up, and they need help. While Tom isn't the village's first choice to be sent on the journey to ask the king for aid, they realize that they have no other choice. On his quest, he realizes that his is not the only village in need. As he talks to other villagers, he hears stories of legendary beasts that might be to blame for this destruction. When he arrives at the king's castle, he sneaks in disguised as a servant and overhears nobles speaking of an evil wizard named Malvel who could be to blame for all of the havoc being wreaked on the kingdom. Tom goes before the king and volunteers to go on a quest to stop the dragon, Ferno. He is permitted to go on his quest, and sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to stop Ferno the Fire Dragon and save his kingdom from mortal danger.
Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.
What I Know
In the "What I Know" section, let him/her think about what things s/he already knows about the subject matter, answering questions like, "Who is the main character? What genres does this story fall under (Fantasy Fiction, Action and Adventure)? What other stories have I read that fall under these categories and that feature kingdoms and magical creatures?
What I Want to Know
Include questions like, "What is the Beast Quest? Why have these terrible things been happening to Tom's village? How will he stop Ferno? When and where is this story set?
Maintain a Vocabulary Journal
Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to an unfamiliar word. See if s/he can discover its meaning by using context clues like prefixes and suffixes as well as the words surrounding it. Help him/her by keeping a “Vocabulary Journal” nearby when reading so that your child can write down new words, that s/he has either already defined or wishes to look up in the dictionary. Be sure to write down the page number that you found the word on so you can return back to it and see in what context the word was used.
Encourage your child to stop at the end of each chapter and give a quick summary of what happened in that chapter. This will help with reading comprehension, as s/he actively thinks about the important events that have occurred thus far, while also helping him/her to recall details later on.
- Tom is a young blacksmith apprentice, but he's always wanted to be a knight. Do you think Tom believed that he would actually become a knight some day? What are some dreams that you have? Do you think they will come true? Why/why not?
- Why did the king allow Tom to go on the quest? How did Tom's family history help convince the king?
- Describe Malvel's character. What are some things that make people happy? What makes you happy? Why did Malvel become evil?
- How does Tom meet Elenna? Why does he decide to invite her to go on his quest with him?
- What questions did you have as you were reading? Were they answered by the end of the story? If not, what do you think the answers might be? What makes you think that?
- If you could change one thing in the story, what would it be? Why?
- Once they've freed Ferno from the curse, Tom and Elenna agree that they will continue on and free another beast from Malvel's curse. Would you continue on the quest as they decide to do or would you return home a hero? Why would you make that decision?
- What did Tom and Elenna learn on their quest? What do you think the author wanted you to learn from this story?
- (Choose a word from your child's vocabulary journal) In your own words, can you describe what the word ________ means? What was the word used to describe?
Extending the Story
Imagine Your Own Quest
What is a quest? A quest is "a journey made in search of something" (Merriam Webster). What is your child's ideal quest? Is there something that s/he has always wanted to do or find? Let your child's imagination run free thinking about an adventure like Tom's and help him/her write a story about it. Maybe they're looking to find the world's most valued treasure, or a special person who can help them do something incredible. Who knows, the sky's the limit! Be sure to have him/her write down all of their ideas and then pick one that s/he wants to write about. Then create a story including characters, a plot and that has a beginning, middle and an end. Then, let your child give the story a title and create cover art for the cover of the story!
Make A Scavenger Hunt
An easy and fun alternative or addition to this activity is to just create a scavenger hunt in and around your own home. Here are some fun ideas that you can use to create one on your own.