David Almond's Printz Honorwinning novel is a captivating modern classic. Ten-year-old Michael was looking forward to moving into a new house. But now his baby sister is ill, his parents are frantic, and Doctor Death has come to call. Michael feels helpless. Then he steps into the crumbling garage. . . . What is this thing beneath the spiderwebs and dead flies? A human being, or a strange kind of beast never before seen? The only person Michael can confide in is his new friend, Mina. Together they carry the creature out into the light, and Michael's world changes forever. . . .
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David Arnold was a British author who wrote several novels for children. Skellig was his first book for young people. He wrote "My Name is Mina," the story of Mina before she meets Michael.
Based on the description David Almond gives, which word below best describes the garage?
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?
When reading a story, it is important to think about the setting. Knowing the setting will help you visualize what you are reading. Watch the video below to learn more about setting. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the setting of this novel?
When an author puts three dots on the page, it shows a change in setting. It could be a change in place or time of day. Read on to find out what change of setting David Almond has made here.
How does Michael get to school?
'Hard as stone' is an example of a simile. A simile is when something is compared using like or as. In this example, the dead bird is so hard it feels like a rock.
Why are Michael's hands trembling?
Mina thinks Michael is shy, or that something else is wrong with him, because he does not answer her right away. He just stares at first. What she does not realize is that he just got quite a scare in the garage!
Where does Michael get his pick for Chinese food?
Determining the point of view in a novel is important. It will help you understand whose side of the story you are reading. This video explains point of view. (This annotation contains a video)
From which point of view is this story told?
Many people dream about things that concern them. While Michael may not say he is very worried about his sister, his dreams show you his troubles.
Use the Define feature and read the definition for skittered. Which of these words is a synonym for skittered?
When there is a page of dialogue, like you have here, it can be difficult to determine who is speaking. Try visualizing the scene in your head. Picture the two characters talking. This strategy will help keep the dialogue straight in your head.
Describe the man in the garage. Who do you think he is?
Michael's interest in his science teacher's lesson shows he is a curious person. This is a character trait. This video will explain more about character traits. (This annotation contains a video)
Michael has mentioned several people that he wants to talk with about the man in the garage, but he does not tell them. Why is he hesitant to share?
Michael's mom is very worried about her daughter. She tells Michael not to worry, but she is trying to convince herself as well.
Which word below best describes Michael?
Mina recognizes Michael's bravery. She may mean he is brave for following her. She may mean he is brave for moving into a new home. Or she may mean he is brave for dealing with his sick sister.
Which surprise does Mina share with Michael?
Because this story is written from Michael's point of view, you have to infer why he is trembling. Michael does not state his feelings, but he is very concerned and upset for his baby sister. He is shaking because of it. His father tells the school he is 'distressed', and chooses to keep him home.
How are Michael and Dad feeling on this page?
Mina is homeschooled. Do you know anyone who is homeschooled? Do you agree with Mina that classrooms are not needed to learn things?
Why is Michael unable to show his secret to Mina?
Have you ever heard that wings grow from shoulders? Do you think there is any truth to this statement?
Why does David Almond include this paragraph?
The man gets annoyed whenever Michael says he wants to share him with someone. You will have to read on to see if Michael listens and does not bring Mina, or if he brings her anyway.
Quiz for Section 1
Mina is trying to get Michael to pay more attention to his surroundings. She wants him to stop and listen for sounds. Next time you are outside, take a moment to stop and notice what you hear.
When Michael listens hard enough, what does he hear?
Mina says she was dreaming when she saw Michael, but you know he was outside in the garage last night. Was Mina dreaming and seeing what happened in real life? Or was Mina awake, but could not believe she really saw Michael ouside in the middle of the night so she thinks she was dreaming?
From this dialogue, you can infer Mrs. Dando is
The man in the garage told Michael he has arthritis, so Michael is trying to figure out a way to help him.
Which piece of the advice do you think Michael will use?
Sometimes you will be asked to write a summary of a chapter or novel. This video reviews summary writing. (This annotation contains a video)
Mina is fixated on birds; what is Michael fixated on?
Michael is concerned that he is imagining the man in the garage.
Based on the man's reaction, how does he feel about having Mina in the garage?
Instead of saying, "I'm Mina" or, "My name is Mina," Mina says, "I'm called Mina." This sentence is something you would say to someone you are not sure is human. Mina is unsure what the 'man' is and does not know how to speak to him.
Write a summary of Chapter 20 using what you have learned from the video.
Mina is very impressed with what Michael shows her. Do you think he is glad he shared "the man in the garage" with someone?
The man is comparing himself to a baby. This is an example of
Michael and Mina think they feel wings on the man's shoulder blades. Do you think that is possible?
Where do Michael and Mina take Skellig?
"No rest for the wicked" is a phrase that originated from the Bible. In this context, it means Michael must get to his schoolwork and cannot take a break from it any longer.
Why does Michael not want to tell Mina about his diary writing?
The fact that Skellig moves at all is surprising, especially since he did not move in Michael's garage.
Why is Michael "...making sure the world's still really there..."?
Remember, this is the lady Michael saw on the arthritis floor.
The acrhaeopteryx is a real creature from long ago. This video gives you more information about this fascinating animal. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on Mina's research and the video above, do you think Skellig is an ancestor of the archaopteryx? Use details from this chapter and the video in your answer.
Genre is the category a novel falls into based on certain details. This video explains the different types of literary genre. (This annotation contains a video)
What genre is Skellig?
Coot thinks people hold on to things when they should be demolished. Do you agree with him? Do you think Michael agrees with him?
Why does Michael keep looking at the tree?
This is a quote from William Blake, Mina's favorite poet.
Why is Mina upset with Michael's friends?
Mina and Michael were both in the wrong today. They are apologizing appropriately, acknowledging where they went wrong and talking it out. When was the last time you were in a similar situation?
Why does David Almond write "...soon the owls rose and headed for the center of the city"?
It must look strange to see a man being fed by owls. They are so surprised by this scene that when Skellig does speak to them they do not answer.
What action on this page lets you know this novel is a fantasy?
Quiz for Section 2
Since David Almond lives in England, the setting of this story is in England. In this country, they do not have a president. Their government is a monarchy which means a king or queen is the head. The king or queen is born into the position. The Prime Minister is the highest position that is elected by the people of England.
How is Dad feeling when he "...chewed his lips..."?
Rasputin is impressed by Michael's knowledge. He can tell he has been doing some work outside of school.
Based on the details in the passage, what is Michael studying in school?
Michael's Dad is not giving him much information, but you can infer that something has changed for the worse with the baby. She needs to have a procedure or operation tomorrow. For a small baby, this is a big issue.
Here is a picture of William Blake's angels and spirits. (This annotation contains an image)
How are Mina's drawings important to this novel? Include details from the passage and the painting in your response.
Michael is shaking again. He does not want Skellig to leave.
Why is Michael drawing?
Mina is not sure what to make of Skellig. She knows he is extraordinary, and for some reason he has pellets around him.
Why is Michael questioning Mina about Skellig?
Mina keeps telling Michael how brave he is, but Michael is not feeling brave as his father pulls into the driveway.
Why does Mina come?
The theme is the underlying message in a novel. This video explains theme. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Mina's face pale?
Michael's heart is fine. He may have passed out over stress or fear, but there is nothing physically wrong with him.
Which word or phrase below is a theme for this novel?
Mina's Mom is discussing the fact that all pomegranate seeds cannot grow into trees. She is also trying to help Michael deal with the fact that all babies may not survive.
What do you predict Michael's Dad is going to tell him?
Now that they know the baby is going to be okay, the family feels like it is time to give her a name.
Does Skellig really visit the baby?
The doctor is surprised Michael recognizes his William Blake reference.
Listen to the William Blake song, "Night", Mina is singing. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the song Night relate to this story? Use details from the song and the novel to support your answer.
How does Skellig describe himself?
Michael and Mina are at peace with Skellig leaving. They know he has other places to go, and they know that they helped him.
Why does Michael change from his usual Chinese order?
Skellig leaves three small white feathers. What do the symbolize? This video explains symbolism in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
What does knocking down the garage symbolize?
Michael's father has been talking about building a nice garden during the whole novel. Now that the baby is doing well, it may become a reality.
Quiz for Section 3