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The Nightmare Before Christmas



Last updated Friday, September 26, 2008

Author: Tim Burton
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0786849088
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com
Meet Jack Skellington. He's in charge of making Halloweenland the coolest creepy place around. But when Jack suddenly grows bored with tricks and treats, he goes searching for new ways to celebrate and he finds them in Christmas Town! Christmas, Jack decides, is just what Halloween land and the world needs! He sets out to take over the role of Santa. But can anything good come of a tall and lanky skeleton dressed up as everyones favorite jolly old elf? This beautiful reissue of the book first released in 1993 is a surefire Halloween, Christmas, and year-round hit!

Note to readers:
•  Vocabulary: Whimpering, spectral, awe, entranced, immersed, obsessively, injustice, petite, ill (as in “think ill of my plan”), macabre, skeletal, crypt, tentacle, ghoulish, barrage, intent

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who is standing next to Santa?
•  How is Santa feeling?
•  Is this a Christmas or a Halloween book?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  During:
•  Does Christmas Town or Halloweenland look more interesting?
•  Why is Jack Skellington feeling sad?
•  What do you think is in Christmas Town? (Just when Jack has fallen in)
•  Do you think Jack Skellington will make a good Santa?
•  What kinds of presents do you think Jack would like? After:
•  Do you like Halloween or Christmas better?
•  What do you like best about Halloween?
•  What do you like best about Christmas?
•  Do you think this is a story or a poem? Can it be both?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a skeleton mask. Draw a skeleton face on a paper plate and cut it out. You can make a spiral for the eyes and add other spooky features. Attach a piece of string the the mask and tie around head.
•  Make a christmas mobile. Make the dog from the book, Zero. Use a piece of cardboard or construction paper to cut out the shapes (long ears, big black eyes, pumpkin nose and mouth). Start at the top with the ears and tie the eyes with string to the ears. Tie the mouth with a longer string to the nose(in the middle) so that it is lower than the eyes. Then tie the mouth to the nose. All of the pieces should be hanging like a mobile.
•  Make a picture showing halloween and christmas town.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!