Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs
Book 1: The Buried
Bones Mystery
Study Guides

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Study Guides

Discussion Topics

Chapter 1

  1. Rico is looking forward to his summer vacation. Talk about vacations and tell what activities you like to do. Discuss the good parts as well as the bad parts about being out of school.

  2. Write or draw a description of Rico, Ziggy, Jerome, and Rashawn. What makes each boy unique?

  3. How are the families of each of the four boys alike? How are they different?

  4. Compare your family to your best friend's family. (Consider foods, family structure, and rules.)

  5. Explain why Ziggy was in the bathtub. Have you ever been afraid of the dark?

  6. Discuss what Ziggy had for breakfast. Was it healthy? What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten for breakfast?

  7. What career goal did Ziggy have? What do you think he needed to learn about that job?

  8. Why did the boys have to play basketball in the morning?

  9. What immediate problem faced the four boys?

  10. What advice would you give them to help resolve this problem?

Chapter 2

  1. Write down three insults the boys make to each other.

  2. Write down three insults the boys make to each other.

  3. Write down three insults the boys make to each other.

  4. How do those statements show friendship?

  5. How do Ziggy, Rashawn, Rico, and Jerome decide to solve their problem?

  6. How do they decide on the name of the club?

  7. Discuss any clubs or organizations you have been a member of. What kinds of activities did you do?

  8. Have you ever formed your own club? Why would that be fun? What would you call it? What kinds of activities would you include?

  9. Why do you think people join clubs?

  10. Whose idea was it to build a clubhouse?

Chapter 3

  1. Describe Ziggy's backyard. Draw a picture of it.

  2. What do they use to build the clubhouse?

  3. How hard do you think it would be to really build a clubhouse like they did? Explain your answer.

  4. Describe the process the boys used to build the clubhouse. Make a list of everything they did.

  5. How long do you think it took to build it?

  6. Draw picture of what you think the inside of the clubhouse looked like.

  7. Which boy didn't like insects? How did the other boys look out for him?

  8. Why do the boys decide on passwords and rules? Why are rules like that important for clubs?

  9. What was the first password they chose and why?

  10. List some of their rules for their club.

Chapter 4

  1. Describe the treasure that Jerome brought.

  2. Why was it important to him?

  3. Describe the treasure that Rico brought. Tell all the things it could do.

  4. Why would it be a good thing to have in the clubhouse?

  5. Describe the treasure that Rashawn brought.

  6. Why was it a good idea?

  7. Describe the treasure that Ziggy brought.

  8. What was potentially dangerous about Ziggy's treasure?

  9. If you had to bring a treasure, what would you bring and why?

  10. What is humorous about Ziggy's inability to remember the password?

Chapter 5

  1. Rico worries about his parents finding out about the firecrackers. When is it not a good idea to keep a secret from parents?

  2. How would you keep the club treasures safe?

  3. Why do they decide to bury the treasures?

  4. Why does Ziggy bring a snow shovel?

  5. Do you think the boys actually planned to find anything when they were digging? If you dug a hole in your back yard, what do you think you would find?

  6. Describe the box they found.

  7. Why did the boys think the box held treasure?

  8. Which boy always seems to offer a sensible solution to every problem?

  9. Why do you think Afrika growled as they began to open the box?

  10. Make a prediction. Where do you think the bones came from?

Chapter 6

  1. Why would it be impossible for the bones they found to be dinosaur bones?

  2. What information do they need to solve the mystery of the buried bones?

  3. What is Ziggy's plan?

  4. What did they do with the two boxes?

  5. What does Rashawn's father tell him about clues?

  6. What did the note say that was found near the chopped-down basketball poles?

  7. What do you think the message might mean?

  8. Why did that note make Rashawn extra curious and interested?

  9. Make a prediction. Who do you think destroyed the basketball court?

  10. What clues do they have so far?

Chapter 7

  1. Jerome realizes his grandmother might be an important resource for information. Explain how she could possible know about what happened in the neighborhood long ago.

  2. What information can your parents and your grandparents give you about your neighborhood or your family history?

  3. What information does Jerome's grandmother share about their neighborhood?

  4. What did she say the old folks used to whisper about?

  5. What used to be on the other side of the fence they used to build the clubhouse?

  6. Find out if it is illegal to build an apartment over a graveyard.

  7. What information do the boys seek at the library?

  8. What kind of books was Mr. Greene checking out from the library?

  9. List all the clues the boys have collected so far.

Chapter 8

  1. Describe the "two-headed man" that Rico's mom saw.

  2. Who was it really and what was he doing?

  3. What did the boys learn from the book about bones they got from the library?

  4. Make a prediction. What connection do you think Mr. Greene has to the destroyed basketball poles?

  5. Make a prediction. What connection do you think Mr. Greene has to the destroyed box of bones?
  6. What does Ziggy discover about Mr. Greene? Why is this suspicious?

  7. What song was Mr. Greene singing? Why was that mysterious?

  8. Why does Rashawn think they need an emergency meeting of the Black Dinosaurs?

  9. Why do the boys decide sleep in the clubhouse? Have you ever slept outside at night, for example, at camp?

  10. Make a list of the items you would take on a campout in your best friend's backyard.

Chapter 9

  1. List the things Rico's mother had given him for the campout.

  2. What does this tell you about her?

  3. What is frightening about sleeping outside in their clubhouse?

  4. Why did they bring the treasures inside the clubhouse?

  5. What has happened to Blackasaurus? What do the boys think has happened to it?

  6. What is scary to the boys as they hear Mr. Greene digging and singing?

  7. What do you think Mr. Greene is digging for? Why?

  8. What does Ziggy's sneeze trigger?

  9. Explain Mr. Greene's statement "The past cannot be buried! I will destroy the destroyers!"

  10. List, in order, exactly what happens to Mr. Greene at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 10
  1. What does the thunder add to the mood of the story?

  2. Draw a picture of the four boys and Mr. Greene at the beginning of chapter ten. What is each boy doing? What is Mr. Greene doing?

  3. Why does Mr. Greene cry?

  4. How do the boys react to his tears?

  5. Have you ever seen an adult cry? How did that make you feel?

  6. What made Ziggy scream? Why does this add excitement to the scene?

  7. Mr. Greene makes several comments about when he was a little boy. Write a description of Mr. Greene as a child and the kinds of games he played or toys he played with.

  8. Why do you think the boys decide to trust Mr. Greene?

  9. How safe do you think the boys were in the clubhouse with Mr. Greene? What might have been dangerous about the situation?

  10. How has the boys' impression of Mr. Greene changed since they saw him at the library?

Chapter 11

  1. Create a timeline of Grandfather Mac's life and Mr. Greene's life as he describes it.

  2. What do the boys learn about slavery from Mr. Greene?

  3. What do the boys learn about Cincinnati and its importance to slaves?

  4. How old is Mr. Greene?

  5. How does Mr. Greene help to solve the mystery of the song about the bones?

  6. How does Mr. Greene help to solve the mystery of the destroyed basketball poles? What proof does he have?

  7. Who is Burke Builders and what bad things had they done in the past?

  8. What do the boys decide to do with the box of bones? Why?

  9. What had really happened to Blackasaurus?

  10. What did the boys learn about the importance of remembering the past?

A. Additional Activities:

A. Information to explore and discover. Use the internet or an encyclopedia, or books to find out more about the following:

  1. African American Clubs and Organizations

  2. The brontosaurus dinosaur

  3. Discovering dinosaur bones

  4. The Tuskegee Airmen

  5. Tuskegee University

  6. Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa

  7. Siberian husky dogs

  8. African-American Burial Grounds

  9. Hair braiding

  10. Bones of the human body

B. Jobs to explore:

  1. FBI or CIA agent

  2. Private investigator

  3. Newspaper reporter

  4. Photographer

  5. Musician

  6. Instrument maker

  7. Historian

  8. Architect or Builder

  9. Archeologist

C. Writing activities:

  1. Using newspaper ads from builder's supply stores, find out what you'd need to build your own clubhouse, and how much it would cost. Write up a plan for your clubhouse.

  2. Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Find out all the things you have to do to care for a dog. Write an essay about dog ownership.

  3. Interview someone who has lived in your neighborhood or someone who has been in your school a long time and discuss how it has changed. Write an essay about what you learn.

  4. Write a poem or story about being afraid.

  5. Write a poem or story about friendship.

  6. Write a mystery that includes clues. At the end of your story show how the clues are solved.

  7. Using a picture of the human skeleton, write an essay about the bones of the human body.

  8. Find out all the words to the folk song, "Them Bones Gonna Rise Again." Write an essay that tells the origin of the song.

  9. Write a newspaper story about how Ziggy and his friends get Burke Builders punished.

  10. Write a newspaper story about what Ziggy and his friends and Rashawn's father finally do with the box of bones.

The Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs Series

Book #1 - The Buried Bones Mystery

Book #2 - Lost in the Tunnel of Time

Book #3 - Shadows of Caesar's Creek

Book #4 - The Space Camp Adventure

Book #5 - The Backyard Animal Show

Book #6 - Stars and Sparks on Stage