Always October

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No doubt about it, little brothers can be monsters. When sixth grader Jake Doolittle finds a baby on the doorstep and his mother decides to keep it, those words are more than just an expression. Instead, they perfectly describe the way his new little brother, LD, sprouts pointy ears, thick fur, and fangs in moonlight.

Not only is LD a monster. . . . other monsters have plans for him. But together with his friend "Weird Lily" Carker, Jake isn't about to let anything happen to the baby. The little guy is still his brother, even if it turns out that LD may be the key to saving the world—or destroying it.

Soon Jake and Lily are on a perilous quest through Always October, a world populated with monsters ranging from the venomous to the ridiculous. Master of comic suspense Bruce Coville presents a tale of ominous dangers and hairbreadth escapes, of the conflict between forces of dark and light, and of the lengths to which one boy will go to save his brother—monster or not.

Curriculet Details
90 Questions
91 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining personification, simile/metaphor and monitoring comprehension. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about imagery and structure. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of citing textual evidence, determining word meanings, and creating visual images. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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1. How It All Started (Lily)

In Chapter 1, we are introduced to one of the main characters in the story, Lily Carker. We also know that Jake is another character in the story. We will meet him in Chapter 2. The story is told from first person point of view with each character, Lily and Jake, giving their account of the story.  
When did Lily first meet Jake? 
What is significant about Arthur Doolittle? 
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the burial chamber of a deceased person or people.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is the name of the monster world that Arthur Doolittle created for his book A World Made of Midnight? 
Make Connections: Do you know someone like Jake who is a perfectionist? Maybe you are that way yourself.  

2. The Thump on the Porch (Jacob)

In this chapter, we meet Jake. He will reveal his perspective on his friendship with Lily. Throughout the story, the chapters alternate between Lily and Jake with each character picking up the story where the other leaves off.  
Based on what we know about Jake, what does this detail reveal about him? 
The author compares the way Jake feels to a "steaming pile of dog poo" to reveal how bad Jake feels. This comparison is called a simile. Watch the video to learn more about using similes and how to tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which literary device is used in this sentence? 
Below is an image of Penelope weaving at her loom. This image is from the story The Odyssey, which is about a man named Odysseus who is trying to return to his wife Penelope after fighting in a war. The picture also shows other men trying to win her affection, however, Penelope is waiting for Odysseus to return. It is said that she worked day and night at her loom waiting for his return.  (This annotation contains an image)

3. Out of the Blue (Lily)

On the first night of the "incident," where did most everything take place? 
What could this be? Do you think there is an animal on the other side of the wall? 

4. Little Dumpling (Jacob)

On the night the baby arrived on Jake's porch in a basket, what was going on? 
The word "hissed" is an example of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is a word that represents a sound. It is a sound effect word.  
Why are there two junk rooms at Jake's house? Cite textual evidence to support your answer. 
The author leaves us hanging at the end of each chapter. This is known as a "cliffhanger." Cliffhangers make us want to find out what will happen next. 

5. Outlaws (Lily)

Why does Jake seem "deflated" after Lily tells him her story of the glowing blue light in the mausoleum? 
Morse code is a method of transmitting text information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks that can be directly understood by a skilled listener or observer.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which detail reveals that Jake likes LD? 
A hyperbole is deliberate exaggeration of actions and ideas for the sake of emphasis. No one has a glare so strong that it could bore a hole through an oak tree. This hyperbole is used to describe the way Grampa looks at Jake. 
Why does Grampa hate Jake's family so much? What could have happened in the past (that Jake and Lily do not know about) that would cause Grampa to feel this way about Jake's family? 

6. Transformation (Jacob)

Which literary device is used in this sentence to describe Luna? 
What does the phrase "tikkun olam" mean? 
What do you think? Did LD turn into a monster or has he been kidnapped and a monster substituted in his place? Could what happened have anything to to with the full moon mentioned in the second paragraph? Let's keep reading to find out. 
Jake mentions having a "ritual." Because of Jake's insecurities, since his father left, he has rituals for certain things. These rituals could be compared to having an obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive compulsive "rituals" differ from person to person. As you read the story, try to pick out some of his rituals. 
Why does Jake call Lily? 

7. Into the Closet (Lily)

Did Lily really know who she was talking to on the phone? Why does she call Jake by Juliet's name? 
Based on this detail, we can infer that Jake's mom has ____________________. 
A cliffhanger is a type of plot device in which the end is curiously abrupt so that the main characters are left in a difficult situation without offering any resolution of conflicts. In this story, suspense is created at the end of the chapter, leaving the reader to ask, “What will happen next?" Cliffhanger plot device ensures readers will continue reading in order to find out what happens. 

8. A Voice in the Dark (Jacob)

What is the setting in this section of text? 
How does Jake "get creative" when telling his mom how the night went with LD? 
Why does Jake not sleep well that night? Have you ever been unable to sleep as a result of having something on your mind or events that took place earlier in the day? 

9. I Get to Meet LD (Lily)

What does Lily say will happen if Jake lies to her? Do you think this is true or is it a superstition? 
Click on the link to read the definition of lycanthrope.  (This annotation contains a link)
Have you ever smelled a baby? What does a baby smell like? Baby powder? Lotion? Milk? 
Why does Jake say Lily would creep LD out if he could hear her? 

10. Spelunker (Jacob)

Which of the following is NOT an item Lily saw in Junk Room B? 
A spelunker exploring a cave.  (This annotation contains an image)

11. The Puzzle in the Picture (Lily)

What does this detail reveal about the portrait of Tia? Do you think it has been on the wall for a long time? 
Despite their discovery of the wall safe, what problem do Lily and Jacob face? 
How do Lily and Jake come up with numbers for a possible combination for the wall safe? 
Do you think Lily's idea will work? 

12. The True Key (Jacob)

What is Lily's reaction to seeing the guest room? 
The author uses imagery to help us "see" the guest room. Watch the video to learn more about imagery.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which literary device is used in this sentence? 
What do you think the "mystery" is? Do you think Jake's grandfather is still alive? 

13. Mist in the Mausoleum (Lily)

Lily is working diligently trying to crack the code. She does not have time for distractions of any kind, especially the howling wolves. 
How does Lily finally crack the code? 
Lily's head in not going to literally "blow off." This is used to express how much information she has learned from reading the codes. For this reason, this is a hyperbole. Watch the video to learn more about why author's use hyperbole in writing.  (This annotation contains a video)
Notice the difference between Lily and Jake. Lily does not seem to be as afraid of things as Jake is. She likes spooky things. Jake, on the other hand, is very scared. He likes things that are safe. 
Which literary device does the author use in this sentence? 
Quiz 1 

14. What Came through the Closet (Jacob)

The use of imagery here paints a vivid picture of the monster in the closet. 
What word(s) would have allowed Jake to hand LD over to the monster in the closet? 
This is a dilemma for Jake because he would really like to know what happened to his dad. However, he loves Little Dumpling and does not want to hand him over to Mazrak. 
How does Jacob feel about giving the baby to Keegal Farzym? Use textual evidence to support your answer. 
The highlighted text contains a ________________. 
Onomatopoeia is a word designed to be an imitation of a sound. In the highlighted sentence, "shhh" is an example of onomatopoeia. Watch the video to see more examples of onomatopoeia.  (This annotation contains a video)
Jacob, Little Dumpling, and Mazrak find themselves __________________. 

15. The High Poet (Lily)

Identify and state the simile used in the highlighted text. Type the sentence that contains the simile. 
Why do you think Mazrak wants the baby? 
What is Keegel Farzym's reason for entering the human world? 
Do you remember the note that was in the basket when Jacob and his mother found the baby on their porch? The baby's name is Dum Pling. Jacob and his mother put it together and added "Little" at the beginning to create Little Dumpling. 
What does Keegel Farzym say is the reason babies are important? 
This is the ancient law in poem form. Can you identify the law that Keegel is talking about? 

16. The Dream Eater (Jacob)

Which of the following is true about the path that Jacob wants to follow? 
Why can Jacob not get away from Octavia? What causes him to be drawn to her? 
What does Octavia want from Jacob? 
The repitition of the "r" sound in the highlighted text is an example of alliteration. Tongue twisters, like "She sells seashells by the seashore" is also a great example of alliteration. 
How does what Jacob did help save him and Gnarly? 
A prophecy is a foretelling or prediction of what is to come. To prophesy is to predict or reveal a divine message. 
Why does Jacob feel embarrassed in front of Gnarly? 

17. The Unravelers (Lily)

How does Little Dumpling feel about Jacob? 
"Sizzled" and "crackled" are also examples of onomatopoeia. These words represent a sound.  
Where does the "odd popping" sound come from? 
According to Keegel's theory, what two elements of fear does he believe exists? 
"Shhhhh!" is an example of ____________. 
How does Jacob feel about Little Dumpling? How do you know? 
What would be the effect of separating Humana and Always October? 

18. Sploot Fah (Jacob)

Can you visualize the monsters that came out of the ground? 
What was Sploot Fah's intentions for Jacob? 
Click on the link and read the definition of "ego." (This annotation contains a link)
The author uses ___________ to help paint a picture in our mind of the path that Keegel, Lily, Jacob, and LD are traveling on. 
This is an example of one of the weird songs that Lily sings. Remember how she got her nickname "Weird Lily" back in second grade? 
Parallelism (or parallel structure) is the use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same. They may be similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter. Watch the video to learn more about parallelism.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is Keegel's warning to Jacob? 
Who should Jacob trust? The man who might or might not be his father? Keegel Farzym? Or LD? 

19. The World Below (Lily)

When does Luna talk? 
What do you think the expression "there's going to be hob to pay" means? Using context clues, it sounds like it means there is going to be consequences for something. 
Describe the fungus. 
Lumnifung is a combination of luminate, which refers to light, and fungus. Based on the meaning of the two words, lumnifung is a fungus that glows. 
Do you think Lily's grandfather recognizes the monster's voice? Why else would he react the way he did when the monster spoke? 

20. The Council of Poets (Jacob)

Doggerel is a derogatory term for verse considered of little literary value. 
Based on this detail about the monster named Ed, we can infer that he ___________________. 
Prophecy or curse? Research the terms 'prophecy' and 'curse' to find out the difference between the two. 
Why was Little Dumpling left on Jacob's porch? Cite textual evidence to support your answer. 
Syreena speaks with an accent. Anything that should be said with the letter w is pronounced with a /v/ sound. 
Why is it important for Dum Pling to be returned to Humana? 

21. The Silver Slicer (Lily)

Explain the two outcomes of the bracelet. 
"Hiss" is an example of onomatopoeia because it is a sound effect word. 
This detail suggests that Squeak __________________. 
What feeling does Lily feel for Jacob since he agreed to protect Dum Pling? 
Do you think Jacob's friends will help him on this journey? Would you help him if he were your friend? 

22. The Battle for the Baby (Jacob)

All through the story, Jacob has displayed fear and insecurity. Now, he begins to feel differently because he knows people are going to help and support him. 
The path to get back to Humana is going to be __________.  
Vale or veil? These words are homophones. A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling. Watch the video to see more examples of homophones.  (This annotation contains a video)
Here is another example of parallelism.  
What does Iris use as a weapon against the attackers? 

23. Tunnels (Lily)

Based on how Luna acts, does she seem to have the true personality of a cat? 
What does Mrs. McSweeney mean by saying "Luna has put her paw on it?" 
The highlighted text is an example of a ________________. 
What do you think 'SF WUZ HERE' means? 
Why does Mrs. McSweeney suggest that they take the tunnel with the markings? 

24. A New Guide (Jacob)

Why does Sploot Fah talk in a funny language?  
Which of the following is true of Mazrak? 
The others in the group are helping Jacob with LD just like they said they would do. They are all working together as a team to accomplish the task they have before them. 
How is the side tunnel different from the main tunnel? 

25. Blankets, Yes; Diapers, No (Lily)

Stalactites are deposits, usually of calcium carbonate, shaped like an icicle, hanging from the roof of a cave.  (This annotation contains an image)
Based on this detail, what can you infer is the reason LD is fussy? 

26. The History of a Mystery (Jacob)

Make predictions: What does the title of this chapter suggest is going to happen next? 
What does LD seem to be concerned about now? 
Why do you think Flenzbort causes such a sense of fear? Do you think she is really a mean monster? 
What does Lily have that will help them get home to Humana? 
"Spin a tale" is an expression used to mean someone can tell a good story, like Arthur Doolittle can. 
Summarize what you have learned about Arthur Doolittle from Mrs. Sweeney's story about him. Use textual evidence to support your answer. 
Quiz 2 

27. Tia LaMontagne (Lily)

Why does Tia NOT "fit in" in the small town? 
Lily can relate to how Tia must have felt. They are both a little odd and have trouble "fitting in." 

28. The Black Bridge of Doom (Jacob)

What problem does Jacob have with crossing the Black Bridge of Doom? 
How do you think this adds to the fear factor for Jacob? 
A pun is a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or by exploiting similar sounding words having different meanings. 
Visualize as you read. This story contains a lot of imagery. You can easily create mental images, or a "movie in your mind." 
What encourages Jacob to cross the bridge? 

29. Toozle (Lily)

Do you agree with Lily? 
What causes Lily to scream? 
What kind of image does the word "demon" create in your mind? 
How does Lily get the monster to stop climbing the bridge in pursuit of them? 
What does Lily mean by this statement? 
Why does Lily get off the trail and go into the woods? 

30. Tears (Jacob)

What advice would you give Jacob? Should he wait for Lily or keep moving? 
Which of the following literary devices is used in this sentence? 
The highlighted text contains a __________ comparing the stone to glass. 
Personification is a figure of speech in which a thing, an idea or an animal is given human attributes. The non-human objects are portrayed in such a way that we feel they have the ability to act like human beings. In this sentence, the dark opening "yawned." Yawning is a human trait, therefore an opening can not yawn. Check out more examples of personification.  (This annotation contains a video)
A simile is used in this sentence to compare the monster's hair to a black waterfall. 
Who do you think Meer Askanza's brother is?  

31. The Queen of Sorrows (Lily)

Who is Meer Askanza's twin brother? 
What caused Meer Askanza to join with the monsters who want Always October to be separate from Humana? 
Explain why Lily bursts into tears when Meer Askanza mentions Luna. 
Do you think Lily and Jake will listen to Meer Askanza's warning about Flenzbort? 

32. Two Dozen Dumplings (Jacob)

Why does Jacob remain alert and cautious? 
When Flenzbort says " Touches me right in the pancreas," this suggests she doesn't have a heart. The expression "touches me in the heart" is used to show that people love and are concerned about others. 
What is required of Lily and Jacob in order to get the bracelet from Flenzbort? 
An imp is a little devil or demon that usually plays tricks on people. Would you like to be stuck with an imp for the rest of your life? 
Here is an example of a Spot the Difference puzzle.  (This annotation contains an image)
What will happen if Jacob choses the wrong LD? 

33. Track to the Top (Lily)

Based on Flenzbort's reaction, do you think she is glad that Jacob found the real LD? 
Using context clues, which is the BEST definition of treadle? 
Was this smart thinking on Lily's part? 

34. The Master Librarian (Jacob)

Make Connections: Have you ever felt this way? 
What does Jacob want to know from his grandfather? 
Where is the library located? 
How do you think Jacob feels? 

35. Beneath the Library (Lily)

Why does Lily decide she can not leave Always October without her grandfather? Cite textual evidence to support your answer. 
Why does Jake blame Toozle for LD's disappearance? 
According to Toozle, he and his other half were ____________ by the bad monsters. 
Stalagmites are a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why is it wise for Lily not to snatch the baby from Mazrak? 

36. Chimes at Midnight (Jacob)

When will Always October be a free world? 

37. Bad Vibrations (Lily)

Onomatopoeia are sound effect words. Swish is another example of onomatopoeia. 
Which literary device is used in this sentence? 
What is the plan of action for stopping the machine? 
What do you think Lily wants Jacob to weave? 

38. Tikkun (Jacob)

Why does the fate of Always October and Humana rest in Jacob's hands? 
This detail reveals that the weaving may be working to repair the two worlds. 
What will seal the magic and fully restore Always October and Humana? 
Could Lily have it figured out? Remember she likes puzzles and code-cracking. 
What urge is Jacob having to fight against? 

39. Return (Lily)

What can you infer happened when the flash of blue light occurred? 
What did Luna do? 
Why is it best that Dum Pling go back to Humana? 
Quiz 3 

Epilogue 1 (Jacob)

What role does Mrs. McSweeney play in Jacob's life? Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 

About the Author

Check out Bruce Coville at (This annotation contains a link)