The Familiars

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Is the kingdom's fate in the hands of an orphan cat?

Running fast to save his life, Aldwyn ducks into an unusual pet store. Moments later Jack, a young wizard in training, comes in to choose a magical animal to be his familiar. Aldwyn's always been clever. But magical? Jack thinks so—and Aldwyn is happy to play along.

He just has to convince the other familiars—the know-it-all blue jay Skylar and the friendly tree frog Gilbert—that he's the powerful cat he claims to be.

Then the unthinkable happens. Jack and two other young wizards are captured by the evil queen of Vastia.

On a thrilling quest to save their loyals, the familiars face dangerous foes, unearth a shocking centuries-old secret, and discover a destiny that will change Vastia forever. Their magical adventure—an irresistible blend of real heart, edge-of-your-seat action, and laugh-out-loud humor—is an unforgettable celebration of fantasy and friendship.

Curriculet Details
61 Questions
48 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 6th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining unknown words, character descriptions, and literary device examples. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about the authors, literary devices and text-to-text connections. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of structure, diction, and textual connections.

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Title Page

Read about Adam Jay Epstein, one of the authors of this novel. (This annotation contains a link)
Read about Andrew Jacobson, one of the authors of this novel. (This annotation contains a link)

Contents

The video below gives you a glimpse into the book's plot. (This annotation contains a video)

1

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Using context clues, choose the best definition for the word 'mangy' from the highlighted sentence. 
Be sure to utilize the map at the beginning of the book, in order to follow the setting(s). 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
From what you have read thus far, what word best describes Aldwyn's character? 
The highlighted word is an example of onomatopoeia. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted sentence includes a simile. This literary device is used to compare two dissimilar things using 'like' or 'as.' The narrator is comparing the trap with the claws of a crab. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Use the text to summarize what you learn about Grimslade's character. 
This is a picture of a broadsword. As the text states, these swords were "used by the queen's soldiers when they patrolled the streets." (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
The text provides the reader with many details about these dogs. Which detail listed below was not a part of the narrator's description? 
This word can be defined as a ghost, phantom, or spirit. 

2

Below is a picture of a lemur. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
From what the text reveals to the reader, these animals possessed different, odd features. Which odd creature was not discussed? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Use the highlighted text to provide a brief/summarized definition of a familiar. 
This word means very small. 
When placed in a sentence together, these words form an example of alliteration, which is a literary device that utilizes the repetition of letters/sounds at the beginning of words that are closely placed in a sentence. 
The video below teaches you about foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What might this statement made by Aldwyn foreshadow? 

3

The highlighted word is defined in the link below. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Choose the description that best describes the way that Marianne and Dalton treat Jack. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
From what we have learned from the story, what is the reason that the highlighted word is italicized? 
The highlighted word means to be horrible/awful. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Choose the detail that is not a part of the narrator's description of the cottage. 

4

Below is a video which teaches you about idioms used in the English language. Keep in mind what they are, as well as how to locate them in writing. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Explain what makes Skylar's use of this idiom so odd/comical. 
The link defines the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What is one unique aspect of the spell library? 
Throughout the novel, the author includes examples of personification. Watch the video to learn about this form of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What makes the highlighted text an example of personification? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Why might the author have chosen to include this information into this part of the novel? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
A synonym is a word or phrase whose definition means the same or nearly the same as another word.Choose the word that is the best synonym for the highlighted word. 
The highlighted text is another example of personification. The wind cannot actually whisper. 

5

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Choose the option that best summarizes Kalstaff's warning about Wyvern and Skull's Tome of the Occult, the missing spell book. Why must the user be so careful? 
Click the link to learn the definition of the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What is one characteristic that Jack and Aldwyn have in common? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.7
After watching the clip and considering what you know about familiars, the object/individual from Harry Potter that can be compared with Aldwyn, Dalton, and Marianne is 
Watch the clip and consider how the events may relate to this novel. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What is the most likely reason the author chose to include the incident with the gundabeast? Use evidence from the text to support your point. 
The highlighted passage includes foreshadowing. The fact that Aldwyn sees "a look of such grave concern" on Kalstaff's face gives the reader the feeling (a hint) that something bad may happen soon. An author includes foreshadowing in order to create suspense or intrigue in the plot of his/her story. 

6

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Choose one detail from the narrator's description of the cloaked woman, before her identity was revealed, that signaled to us that she was an important person in Vastia. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What reasons does Kalstaff give for the queen's demeanor toward his apprentices? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
With respect to the story, what does the following line signify for Aldwyn? 
The highlighted word means to be unable to understand or comprehend. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted line includes an example of which literary device? 
Quiz 1 

7

The highlighted text includes a great example of imagery. Watch the video to learn more about this literary device. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What is the use of dispeller chains? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
In this scene, Scribius acts like which modern-day tool? 
Below is a picture of a satchel. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Cite one detail from this chapter that proves that Aldwyn is a worthy addition to the group of familiars. 

8

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted words contain an example of which literary device? 
The highlighted passage contains imagery. The author has described the scene with details that help to form a picture in the reader's mind. For example, "A dense mist hung in the air" helps the reader to visualize what the air looks like. 
Click the link, in order to learn about sonnets. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What talent did Gilbert reveal to Aldwyn? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Make a prediction about the importance of this jeweled anklet. Consider why the author might have given one to the witch and to Skylar. 

9

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Make a connection between Gilbert's situation and one of the following options:1. Text to Text2. Text to Self3. Text to WorldConsider how this father/son relationship may relate to another. 
The highlighted text contains an example of verbal irony. Watch the video to learn more about this literary term. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Since Gilbert is not a human, this line is a bit odd. What does he mean by this statement? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What can we infer is the reason that Gilbert does not yet have a valor stave with his symbol on it? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted text includes an example of what literary device? 
The picture contains an example of a bola (the item in the man's hand), which is often used to harm/catch prey. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Cite evidence from the text to support the statement below.Aldywn keeps getting lucky.Consider the instance(s) from the text that make this statement true. 

10

The highlighted word means to be extensive/limitless. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted text includes which literary device? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why isn't Aldwyn talking to the innkeeper, as he does with Jack? 
The highlighted statement is a figure of speech. Skylar is not actually shooting daggers out of her eyes. In actuality, she is giving him a look of disapproval. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Why did the author choose to italicize the highlighted portion of the text? 
The highlighted word means to be well-known, usually for bad behavior. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Using details from the text, summarize the description of an Olfax tracking snout. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What is so significant about this statement? 
Below, you will see a picture of a crossbow. (This annotation contains an image)

11

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Using the sentence to determine the meaning of this word, choose the word that is a synonym for the highlighted word. 
Below is a picture of taffy. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
Why might the author have chosen to include this information into the story? 
Essentially, this bridge is pulling at the strings of each of the familiars' inner thoughts. Aldwyn is afraid of being exposed, Skylar wants to be infamous, and Gilbert is distrustful of others. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why doesn't Aldwyn kill Grimslade? 

12

Look over the picture of the scene, then answer the question on this page. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.7
What makes the picture that you looked at above inaccurate? Be sure to list specific details from the text to support your answer. 
The best definition for this word is very great/intense. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What might the cave drawings be revealing to the three characters? 
From the narrator's description, the picture below could be what the cave troll looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Which literary device is the highlighted word an example of? 
The narrator is referring to the cave drawings as "Vastia's forgotten history" because no one was aware of the facts that the drawings revealed to the clan of familiars. 
Quiz 2 

13

The highlighted word is a person that studies alchemy, which is the process of turning something ordinary into something extraordinary/special. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Using context clues, explain what the highlighted figure of speech means. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
How does this statement relate to the way that Loranella is currently acting? 
Below is a picture of a hydra. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What type of animal is Edan? 

14

Below is a picture of a vial. (This annotation contains an image)
Below, 'mirage' is defined for you. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted phrase does not actually mean that Aldwyn is back in a place where he stomped a lot. What does this figure of speech really mean? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
For what reason do the familiars need garlic? 
In the picture below, a small rock is levitating above a larger one. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Choose the word that represents the best synonym for the highlighted word. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
At this point in the story, a turning point has occurred. Summarize what event marks this turning point. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What line from this chapter reveals a partial explanation of Skylar's bracelet? 

15

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
We are seeing a change in the way that the other familiars look at Aldwyn. Explain the reason for this change. Think about whether this change is positive or negative. 

16

Below is a picture of an earth mite. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The highlighted sentence includes an example of which literary device? 

17

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
As the novel has progressed, we have learned a lot about Aldwyn. With this chapter's events in mind, please choose the most admirable of Aldwyn's personality traits. 
The highlighted word is yet another example of onomatopoeia. The word mimics the sound made by the "mighty blow." 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Explain the significance of this statement. What is Skylar admitting to Aldwyn? 

18

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Using the highlighted passage, choose the word that best describes the feeling that one would get when entering the current setting of the story. 
The highlighted word means to chant. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
A turning point (climax) in the story has just occurred. Summarize this event, and explain what makes it an example of a climax. 
Often times, authors use different fonts, in order to signify shifts in time, thoughts, dreams, etc. In this instance, the author has used italics, in order to signify a switch from spoken language to determined spell-casting. This has been done to set the words apart from the rest of the text on the page. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why isn't Aldwyn speaking to Jack? He has so much to reveal to him, after the long journey he and the other familiars have just taken. 

19

A prophesy is a divinely inspired prediction.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Using the definition of the word 'prophesy' and what we know about the story, explain what is meant by the title of this chapter. How were the three familiars prophesized? 
Quiz 3