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The Neverending Story

Last updated Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Author: Michael Ende
Date of Publication: 1983
ISBN: 0525457585
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2013

Synopsis: Bastian embarks on a wild adventure when he enters the magical world of Fantastica, a doomed land filled with dragons, giants, and monsters, and risks his life to save Fantastica by going on a very dangerous quest.

Note to readers:
•  The purple text is set in real-life, the green text is the fantasy story in the book that Bastian is reading
•  Consider an appropriate time to read aloud the inside of the front book jacket to intrigue the kids
•  You won't have time to get this far in the book, so at some point explain to the kids that Bastian's real-life starts to interact with the world of Fantastica. See pp. 65-66, pp. 81, pp. 90-91, and pp. 149-151 for intriguing examples that you may want to read aloud.

Vocabulary to define with the kids as you read it
•  bulbous (p. 2) fat, round, or bulging
•  gaped (p. 4, and have the kids model a shocked and surprised look with their mouths open)
•  irrevocable (p. 6. Ask the kids if they think something powerful and mysterious is happening. If so, what could it be?)
•  cacophony (p. 24)
•  Particularly in the green text, this book has a lot of nouns the kids might not know. You don't have to define all of them, but you are encouraged to define those you think the kids might enjoy if they could picture them, or which help them picture the world of Fantastica.
•  mounts and grooms (pp. 23. In Fantastica, a mount is any sort of creature that another smaller creature might ride)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Did you know this book is also a movie? Have you ever seen it?
•  Looking at the cover, what do you think this book is about?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think of the old man in the bookstore? Have you ever been treated like that?
•  What is a never-ending story? Can a story really never end?
•  Have you ever liked reading a book so much that you lost track of time or constantly thought about it? Which book and why?
•  Have you ever wished you could live inside a book you read? Describe it!
•  Which character from a book would you like to have as a real-life friend?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a favorite character from any book you like. Consider drawing them in a real-life scene with yourself.
•  The first letter of every chapter in The Neverending Story is very large and decorated with illustrations (e.g. p. 60 & p. 96). Write the first letter of your name very large, then draw scenes from your life or creatures from your favorite books or anything you like.

Special activities:
•  Write the beginning or a scene from your very own fantasy story. Whoever feels comfortable can read it aloud or have the volunteers read it aloud.

*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!