Volunteers needed in October!   Click here to sign up.
 Site Areas: 
  HOME  
  ABOUT US  
  FRIENDS & SUPPORTERS  
  HOW TO HELP  
  NEWS  
  READING CLUBS  
Printer-friendly version   

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, No. 1)



Last updated Sunday, January 5, 2014

Author: Rick Riordan
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0545060397
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2014

Synopsis: The first book in this groundbreaking multimedia series sends readers around the world on the hunt for the 39 Clues. Book #1 is written by #1 NYT bestseller Rick Riordan, and backed by $100,000 in prizes! Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her decendants an impossible decision: "You have a choice - one million dollars or a clue." Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 Clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents.

Note to readers:
•  The 39 Clues series is a series of adventure novels written by a collaboration of authors. Try to get to the beginning of chapter 5, when the kids discover a secret hidden library.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why do you think there are exactly 39 clues?
•  What do you think the 39 clues will lead to?
•  What tools could you use to solve the clues? (e.g. searching on the internet, researching in the library)

Vocabulary:
•  craggy (p 1) - Rugged and uneven: a craggy face.
•  talisman (p 2) - A stone or other small object, usually inscribed or carved, believed to protect the wearer from evil influences
•  brusque (p 3) - Abrupt and curt in manner or speech; discourteously blunt. See Synonyms at gruff.
•  lunatic (p 5) - Wildly foolish; crazy.
•  au pair (p 6) - A person, usually a young foreign visitor, employed to care for children, do housework, etc., in exchange for room and board.
•  seppuku (p 7) - Any suicidal action; a self-destructive act.
•  executor (p 13) - A person who is appointed by a testator to execute the testator's will. As opposed to executer - To put to death, especially by carrying out a lawful sentence.
•  quest (p 16) - The act or an instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.
•  archaeology (p 24) - The study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes.
•  telepathy (p 34) - Communication between minds by some means other than sensory perception.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do you think Amy chose the clue instead of one million dollars? Would you choose one million dollars or the clue?
•  What do you think the prize is?
•  What does power mean to you?
•  What could make you the most powerful person in the world?
•  Why is the Cahill family so powerful?
•  If you could be related to one famous person, who would it be?

Craft ideas:
•  Design and draw your own crest, like on page 45.
•  Make your own maze. Before you draw a maze, remember these hints: Draw the walls of the maze, not the path through it. Imagine that the walls you draw are solid, and the spaces you leave white are paths on which people would walk. Make the start and finish easy to find. Add dead ends to make your maze more challenging (but don’t frustrate players by making your maze impossible to solve). The simplest maze you can draw is a spiral, because these mazes spiral in toward the center, even though they twist and turn as they go. Draw your maze with a pencil on white paper, then trace with dark or bright colors. (see sample)

*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!