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The School is Alive!: A Branches Book

Last updated Friday, September 28, 2018

Author: Jack Chabert
Illustrator: Sam Ricks
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0545623936
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2018

Synopsis: Eerie Elementary is one scary school! In this first book in the series, Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He'll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it's too late!

Note to readers:
•  Be ready to do a BIG scary voice for the school. Also, a loud sound of a heartbeat on page 17.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  How can a school be eerie?
•  What place have you gone to that you thought was haunted?
•  Do you like being in a position of responsibility or power?


•  skeleton - an internal or external framework of bone, cartilage, or other rigid material supporting or containing the body of an animal or plant.
•  willies - informal, nervousness or jitters, fright creeps (usually preceded by the)
•  auditorium - the space set apart for the audience in a theater, school or public building.
•  offstage - off the stage or in the wings; away from the view of the audience.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Page 6 - Try to read backwards. The school sign says, "Eerie Elementary".
•  Page 13 - What has Sam's locker turned into? (a mouth)
•  Page 22 - What has happened here?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a sash to wear using ribbon, streamers or tissue paper, orange if possible.
•  Make a pencil drawing if a window with tree branches.
•  Make a Peter Pan hat out of cardboard paper and craft feathers.
•  Draw a picture of Sam's training robot.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*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!