The Emerald Atlas

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Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about. Until now. Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And-if an ancient prophesy is correct-what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right. The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma's extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.
Curriculet Details
97 Questions
103 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring theme and mood, as well as annotations describing character relationships and figurative language. Students will explore the themes of adventure and teamwork. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library


Welcome to the first book in The Books of Beginning series by John Stephens. John talks about himself and his book in the interview below.  (This annotation contains a video)
Watch this video about genres in literature. Then decide which genre the story is that you are reading. (This annotation contains a video)
What genre is this novel? 

Chapter One - Mrs. Lovestock’s Hat

Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Use the Define feature and read the definition for armory. Which of the following items might the children find in the building since it used to be an armory? 
Edgar Allan Poe is a famous American poet, author, and literary critic from the 1800s.  
Kate's Mom told her to take care of the children. How is Kate showing that she is following her mother's wishes? 
Even though this story is fiction, in real life it is also difficult to find an adopted home for siblings. This website explains the reasons and the benefits for keeping siblings together.  (This annotation contains a link)
Why is Miss Crumley speaking so highly of the children? 
Kate has a choice. She could lie and get her siblings to the "Swan Ladies" house and out of the orphanage. Her other choice is to tell the truth, knowing she will get stuck at the orphanage or moved to another. She decides to tell the truth. 

Chapter Two - Miss Crumley’s Revenge

Why are Kate and her siblings on a train? 
Here is a picture of a locket.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why are the children coming up with "P" names? 
The mood in the story is shifting. If you are not sure what mood is, check out this video.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is the mood in the novel during this scene? 
The author, John Stephens, uses vivid descriptions to let you know that several hours pass as they ride to the home. 
Are they staying at an orphanage? 

Chapter Three - The King and Queens of France

Miss Swallow may be unwelcoming and rude towards the children, but she cooks them a wonderful meal. They have not eaten a delicious, filling dinner in a very long time. 
What was Abraham's advice? 
Here is a picture of a real waterfall on Lake Champlain.  (This annotation contains an image)
Think about John Stephens' description of the waterfall area. Compare it with the photograph in the above annotation. 
Michael has a Polaroid camera. This type of camera automatically ejects the picture once it is taken. The picture comes out gray and wet. It dries within a few minutes and then the picture appears. 
What was in Michael's picture? 

Chapter Four - The Countess of Cambridge Falls

Abraham is helpful in the mysterious world they are in just like he is helpful back in the mansion. 
Which of the following is not a feature of the creature? 
It is odd to see the group of children standing in a tight group. It is odder still since no children were found in town when Kate and her siblings arrived. 
Why is Kate talking to the boy and little girl? 
John Stephens made sure to mention the colossal size of the dam. The dam must be of importance later in the story. 
According to the Countess, why are the men of the town away? 
The book is the only way the children can return to present time. 
Which sentence from the novel lets you know  you are reading a fantasy? 

Chapter Five - Dr. Stanislaus Pym

It has never been mentioned why Miss Swallow acts as if the children are French royalty. Maybe you will find out later in the story. 
The weather outside is ___________. 
The smoke "...wrapping its arms around Kate and Emma" is an example of personification. Below is a video that provides more examples of personification. Personification is a form of figurative language where non-human objects are given human qualities.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why did Kate and Emma reveal so much to Dr. Pym? 
Read this poem "The Magical Book."  (This annotation contains a link)
Make a comparison between the book in "The Magical Book" poem and the book in "The Emerald Atlas". Cite evidence from both sources in your response.  

Chapter Six - The Black Page

"Shhhhhhh" is an example of an onomatopoeia. An onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from a sound associated with its name. 
"Whoosh" is an example of _________________. 
The Countess is described as being "beautiful and terrible". Do you think it is possible to be beautiful AND terrible? 
According to Abraham's story, how long are the children separated from their parents? 
Is Kate dreaming about the pages she saw? Is she seeing into the future and predicting what will happen next? Good readers ask themselves questions as they read to help understand the story. Are you thinking about any other questions? 
What is the mood in this scene? 

Chapter Seven - Guests of the Countess

Comparing the giggle to "...cold water trickling down her spine" is a type of figurative language known as a simile. A simile is when you compare two things using the words "like" or "as." 
How does the Countess's mansion compare with Dr. Pym's mansion in present day? 
Kate realizes that the Countess is much older than sixteen or seventeen. It is not possible for the Countess to do all of the things she explains and still be a teenager. 
Why did everyone disappear when the Countess clapped her hands? 
Why did Kate want the pain back? 
The next two pages will explain the story behind the magical book. This is very important to the rest of what you will read. If you get confused when reading, take the time to reread. You need to have a good understanding of this part of the story. 
Kate's fear turned to anger as soon as the Countess spoke poorly of Emma. Kate's mothering instinct is becoming evident. 
Why did Michael betray Kate and Emma? 

Chapter Eight - Wolves

Kate is torn between both siblings. Do you think she will forgive Michael? 
What was the "white light" that illuminated the room? 
This group of children has been together for awhile. Many times groups like that start to build their own society and do what they think is best for their group. They will follow along to maintain order within the group. 
Who stopped the hanging? 
Emma may have been helping the mob with ideas on hanging, but now she is back to loving her brother. 
How are Kate and her siblings similar and different from Stephen's group of children? Cite evidence from the passage to support your answer. 
The Countess may treat Cavendish poorly, but she does seem to consider his opinion. 
Which choice below accurately describes the relationship between the Countess and Cavendish? 
"Things happen for a reason." Do you think this is true in life? In this story, with its magic, can things happen for a reason or does magic make them happen? 
What magic did Dr. Pym perform on Kate and Emma that you, the reader, know about but the kids do not? 
The lightening from the storm was helpful to the children inside the house as it helps them see all of the other kids. The rain from the storm outside is hindering their progress in trying to get away from the Countess. 
This scene inspired the idea for the cover of the book  (This annotation contains an image)
Did all three children make the jump on their own? 
Quiz for Chapters 1-8 

Chapter Nine - Gabriel

Kate's dreams and visions seem to come true. Do you think this one will also come true? 
Why does Kate want to go to Westport? 
Emma usually keeps thoughts and ideas to herself. She must be feeling very safe with the man to reveal information about the book. 
Why does the man kill the stag? 
Gabriel must know Dr. Pym to give a description of him. He is not ready to tell the children how he knows him. 
How does Gabriel know that Kate left out part of the story? 
"Hydrophobic" is a fear of water. This website describes different phobias, or fears, people have. (This annotation contains a link)
Why is Gabriel not going to kill the Countess? 

Chapter Ten - The Maze

When reading literature it is important to determine the theme, or underlying message, of the story. This video will show you how to find the theme.  (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following is a theme for this story? 
The Screechers sound extremely terrifying. Do you think it would be worse to hear their scream or have them just appear? 
Why is it important for the children to follow Gabriel's instructions exactly? 
The underground tunnels are a maze. You also know that there is magic in this story. Therfore you have to decide if a magical force is purposefully pulling Kate away from her siblings, or if Kate is really having a vision. 
Write a complete summary of Chapter Ten, The Maze. Cite evidence from the text to support your response.  

Chapter Eleven - The Prisoner in Cell 47

Gabriel is threatening the witch. This is not something people usually do. Cavendish must be shocked by this statement. 
John Stephens put a large space between this paragraph and the next. This signifies to the reader that the scene has changed. In this case you are moving from Emma and Gabriel to Kate and Michael. 
Why is Michael so shocked to see the dwarves? 
"A few strategic omissions" is a nice way of saying she does not plan on telling the dwarves the whole truth. 
Why do the dwarves laugh at Michael? 
Kate is not admitting that she had a vision that took her to the door. 
Why does the dwarf decide not to find Emma? 
Kate and Michael are deep in the maze. Even if they manage to escape the cell, it is doubtful they could find their way out. 
The dwarves discuss the occupant of cell 47 in front of Michael and Kate. What mood does this discussion create? 

Chapter Twelve - Breakfast for Dinner

Gabriel carries the ingredients to help with the poison. He must have needed this concoction previously. 
Which word below is an antonym for solitary? 
Despite Emma being in trouble Michael still takes the time to point out her faults to Dr. Pym. 
How is the Dr. Pym in this world similar to the Dr. Pym in fifteen years? 
Dr. Pym is nonchalant in telling the children he has the book.  
Why is Kate getting chills? 
Dr. Pym must have been in deep areas around the world if it took two years for him to receive a message about the Countess. 
What does the expression "...our collective goose would be cooked" mean? 
This tantrum shows that Hamish is unreasonable and quick to anger. 
How did Dr. Pym end up in his cell? 
This fact, that the creatures cannot come outside, may help Kate in the future. 

Chapter Thirteen - Hamish

Why is Robbie warning the group about his brother? 
Here is a picture of a dwarf king.  (This annotation contains an image)
How does the picture above compare to Hamish? 
It appears that Dr. Pym and the children did not think that Hamish would be listening in on their conversations in their cell. 
Why does Hamish call Dr. Pym a conjurer? 
Hamish does not want to take Dr. Pym because he is a wizard. If he knew about Kate's visions he probably would not want to take her either. 
Why are Michael and Kate standing up to Hamish? 
This is a turning point for Michael. As Kate has said, Michael has been bullied all of his life. His escape was reading about the brave dwarves and their love of family. Finally meeting the dwarves, and the unlikely dwarf king, changes something in Michael. He sees what his sister has been doing for him and wants to stand up for himself and for her. 
What important message did Dr. Pym give Kate? 

Chapter Fourteen - Granny Peet

Emma thinks the lady looks crazy. Based on her description, what do you think? 
What does Granny mean when she says Kate and Michael are "found"? 
You will be asked to write summaries of chapters or books. Here is a video explaining what is in a good summary.  (This annotation contains a video)
Write a summary for the chapter Granny Peet. 
Emma and Gabriel are developing a strong relationship. Think about how Gabriel acts when saving Emma, and how Emma reacts to seeing Gabriel in pain. 

Chapter Fifteen - To the Dead City

How is Kate and Michael's relationship changing? 
Hamish asks the dwarf for news, and when he reports it, the king calls him a "nit." This shows you what a deplorable king Hamish is being. 
Why did Kate compare the city to a "vast snow-globe metropolis"? 
Emma and Dena are relating to each other because they are both dealing with the loss of their parents. 
Why is Granny Peet standing up for Emma? 
This paragraph is important. It tells you the powers of the book. Reread it to make sure you understand all of the details. 

Chapter Sixteen - The Black Lake

When you use the define feature, you see that porter has several meanings. Which meaning below shows how it is used in this story? 
The old dwarf is making up his own onomatopoeia, or sound word, when he is using urp! 
Why is Kate surprised that the crystals are cool? 
If Kate did not let the dwarf ahead of her, she would have been the one grabbed. 
Quiz for Chapters 9-16 

Chapter Seventeen - Inside the Vault

Kate does not know where the lie came from, but she is glad it comes out because she needs to touch the book first. 
What time period is Kate in now? 
Kate is guessing that a half hour is how much time elapsed before the book disappeared last time. She knows that time does not always seem correct, though, since she has been in Cambridge Falls. 
What flashes in Hamish's hand? 
While reading literature it is important to think about the character's traits, or how the character is relating to others and the world. This video will help you determine a character's trait.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Eighteen - The Raven

Which character trait is Emma displaying? 
Emma is arrogant in front of Dena, but compliant around Gabriel. This helps you understand how much she cares for Gabriel, trusts him, and respects him. 

Chapter Nineteen - The Battle of the Dead City

Why is Kate reluctant to tell Michael about seeing their mother? 
The Secretary wants to know all of the details because he is hoping they will lead him to the book. 
Why did Kate tell the Secretary about her mother, but not Michael? 
The Secretary is answering many of Kate's questions. He is probably answering questions you have had as well.  
Watch this movie trailer for "The Dark Crystal" and think about how it compares to "The Emerald Atlas".  (This annotation contains a video)
Compare the movie trailer to The Emerald Atlas. Include evidence from this story and the video to support your answer. 
The fight scene is being viewed through Kate's eyes, or point of view. 
If Gabriel were describing this fight scene, which of the following would be his point of view? 
This is the first positive statement made about Hamish. 
Which sentence below uses intercepted in the same way it is used in the story? 
Because both groups worked together they won the battle. They use teamwork to their advantage. 
What is the mood in this scene? 
The salmac-tar have only been defeated by Gabriel, and he only had to kill one of them. 
Why is Gabriel having the men form a line behind him? 
Dr. Pym has magically escaped his cell to help with the battle. He is causing the earth to move. 
How did the battle end? 

Chapter Twenty - Kate’s Vision

When Dr. Pym was talking to Kate and Michael in the cell, did you think he was planning something? 
Why is there a "now-alternate past"? 
Hamish knows that he will have to work hard for Robbie, the new king. He did many things wrong as king and Robbie will make sure they are righted. 
Which word would describe the way Stephen's Dad is feeling? 
You would think after all Kate and the group have been through together that she would tell the truth about her visions. She is choosing to still keep them to herself. 
According to Dr. Pym, why has he not told Emma and Michael about their parents? 
A "magical history" is not a real academic field of study but it is found in many fantasy novels. 
What is Kate, Michael, and Emma's real last name? 
Kate is finally sharing her vision with her siblings because she thinks it will keep their friends safe. 
Why did Kate give the pictures to her siblings? 

Chapter Twenty-one - Devil’s Bargain

Is the Secretary trying to kill her? Is he testing her trust in him? 
What happens when Kate steps over the line? 
A portal in a fantasy novel transports people from one place to another, or from one time period to another. 
How do Emma and Michael make it down the mountain at the same time as Gabriel? 
The Countess's word has not meant much up until this point in the story. Since she wants the book so badly, maybe she is telling the truth now. 
Why does John Stephens choose to use a string of dialogue in this scene?  
Many hypnotists use a pendant on a chain to hypnotize their patients. The Countess is using Kate's locket in a similar way. 
Which word below is an antonym for massive? 
Gabriel is learning more about Emma and her habits. He is very specific in his instructions. Do you think she will follow them? 
Why is Dr. Pym able to use his magic freely on the boat but not in his cell? 
Michael at the beginning of the story would not have been able to carry out Dr. Pym's wishes. This new, brave Michael is taking his role seriously and with pride. 
What does Dr. Pym mean when he says " it safe?" 
This paragraph describes the hurt Kate has been keeping bottled up inside her whole life. 

Chapter Twenty-two - The Dire Magnus

What does Kate mean when she says "...she always thinks she was the one responsible"? 
Dr. Pym does not seem to be a wizard who is easily defeated. He has had plans in the past, so he probably has a plan now. 
Why does the Countess want all three books? 
The Dire Magnus is supposed to be receiving the book from the Countess. 
How is Emma able to defuse the mines? 
Emma quickly defuses all of the mines, except one. 
Why did Emma push Gabriel onto the catwalk? 
Stephen is admitting he was wrong. This is a sign of maturity. 
Why is the Countess terrified? 
Dire Magnus has taken over the Countess's body so it could communicate with Dr. Pym and Kate. 
What explosion do they hear? 

Chapter Twenty-three - The Children of Cambridge Falls

Gabriel would not have minded if Emma told him she pushed him. By pushing him she saved his life! 
Describe Emma and Gabriel's relationship. Cite evidence from the story to support your answer. 
The children are frantic for several reasons. They are free from their cells. They know their parents are close. They also heard the explosion and are fearful of what it means. 
Why did Emma change her plan? 
This photo shows what a dam looks like when it is breaking. Notice the force with which the water comes through.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Emma finally seeing Michael as her older brother? 
Even though Stephen apologized earlier to Michael, he did not think Michael would return. It is amazing him that Michael is true to his word. 
What is Michael's plan? 
Dr. Pym's magic tobacco works just in time. He was able to calm the children and help Kate pick the right moment to place the picture. 

Chapter Twenty-four - Rhakotis

What time is it? 
What do you think Kate saw in the darkness? Was it Gabriel? Was it the creature Gabriel was fighting? Was it a Screecher?  
Why does Kate not need a photograph to move through time? 
Kate trusted the Countess before and she betrayed her. Could Kate be foolish enough to trust her again? 
Why does Kate's heart need to heal? 
At the beginning of this novel, when Kate, Michael, and Emma were placed in the car their parents saw a dark shadow at the end of the road. This shadow was the Dire Magnus. 
Where is the Countess? 

Chapter Twenty-five - Ghosts of Christmas Past

Dr. Pym is aware of all that has transpired during the time Kate and her siblings were gone. 
Why are the party guests applauding Kate? 
It seems the dwarves are getting along with the villagers in Cambridge Falls. It is a peaceful community. 
Why did John Stephens choose to have a party end this book? 
Kate is still the protective older sister who wants what is best for her siblings. She knows they need a nice Christmas with friends. 
Quiz for Chapters 17-25