Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs
Book 6: Stars and
Sparks on Stage
Study Guides

Back to Study Guides

Study Guides

Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs: Stars and Sparks on Stage
by Sharon M. Draper

Discussion Topics

Chapter 1

  1. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells of Ziggy's bath time.

  2. From the conversation that Ziggy has with his mother, what can you tell about the relationship between the two?

  3. Give an example of Ziggy's unusual eating habits.

  4. Even though Ziggy eats unusual foods, explain how his food choices are basically healthy.

  5. Describe the boys' school building the area around it. Tell how is their school similar or different from your own.

  6. Describe the singing voices of the four boys.

  7. "In the distance, their gravel-covered track waited for runners, and bleachers sat empty." Write another descriptive sentence that gives human characteristics or feelings to non-living things.

  8. "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" is an old American folk song with many possible verses. Make up your own verses to it.

  9. What kinds of dreams do the boys have about becoming successful as singers?

  10. None of them noticed the car that was parked in the tall grass behind the athletic stands." Make a prediction about how that car becomes important in the story.

Chapter 2

  1. Describe Mr. Cavendish. What lets you know he is a good teacher.

  2. What does Mr. Cavendish's believe about performing?

  3. What does Mr. Cavendish's believe about competing for prizes?

  4. Who donated the prize money and why?

  5. How does Ziggy help Mimi during the tryouts?

  6. Describe Bill and Tito's performance for the tryouts.

  7. What is the song that Black Dinosaurs sing for the tryouts??

  8. What makes their song funny?

  9. What would you perform if you could be in a talent show?

  10. Make a prediction: What will happen when the list is posted?

Chapter 3

  1. Why does Ziggy like being in the school when it's empty?

  2. Why do the boys stay late with Mr. Cavendish?

  3. How did the boys discover the new girl?

  4. Describe Tulip when the boys first meet her.

  5. Why does Mr. Cavendish call 911, even though Tulip is not seriously injured?

  6. Why are Ziggy and his friends excited about having the responsibility of dialing 911?

  7. Where did Tulip and her mother come from and why are they homeless?

  8. Why do you think Jerome invites Tulip and her mother to his house?

  9. How can you tell all four boys want to impress Tulip?

  10. If you discovered a medical emergency at your school, what would you do?

Chapter 4

  1. Give an example of how rumors operate in a school.

  2. Compare the school the night before when it was empty to the next morning when students filled the halls.

  3. Compare how Tulip looked when the boys first met her to how she looked the following morning.

  4. What difficulties might be encountered in trying to find Tulip's school records?

  5. How does Tulip shine in math class?

  6. Write some additional verses to Ziggy's silly poem about the zoo and to Tulip's poem about the blues.

  7. What does Tulip say after she finishes reciting her poem? What was your response to her poem?

  8. How does Brandy react to Tulip and why?

  9. Why is poetry a good way to express feelings?

  10. Make a prediction: What will the other students think of a new girl who is good at everything?

Chapter 5

  1. How will the choir participate in the talent show?

  2. How do you know Mr. Cavendish is a teacher who focuses on encouragement?

  3. What is noticeable about Tulip's singing voice?

  4. Why would the Black Dinosaurs be worried?

  5. What does Tulip say when she finishes her song?

  6. What does Tulip say when she completes every task well?

  7. Name several negative things about being homeless.

  8. How do you think Tulip felt being the new student at her school?

  9. What do you think the other students understood about Tulip's situation?

  10. Make a prediction: What will happen at the talent show?

Chapter 6

  1. How had the boys built their clubhouse?

  2. Which of the four boys dislikes bugs? How do you know?

  3. Describe the inside of their clubhouse.

  4. Tell how the boys could use the prize money to improve their clubhouse.

  5. How had Jerome's grandmother helped Tulip and her mom?

  6. What do the boys think about Tulip and her skills and abilities?

  7. Why do you think the boys are a little worried about their chances in the talent show?

  8. What do they decide to do to improve their act?

  9. Write some additional verses to the Fooba Wooba song.

  10. How do you know Jerome was surprised to see Tulip?

Chapter 7

  1. Why do you think Jerome was so nervous about having Tulip in the clubhouse?

  2. What was unusual about having a girl in the clubhouse?

  3. How did the club get the name the Black Dinosaurs?

  4. What do you think it was like for Tulip during the hurricane?

  5. What do you think the boys learned as they talked to Tulip about the hurricane?

  6. What is the difference between collecting money to send to a disaster and meeting a person who had been involved in the disaster?

  7. Write some additional verses to the Boom Boom song.

  8. How do you know Jerome likes Tulip a little?

  9. Why do the boys feel a little guilty about wanting to win the prize money?

  10. What final plans do they make for the show?

Chapter 8

  1. What is the difference between practicing in an empty auditorium and performing for people in the audience?

  2. How do you know the boys are worried about Tulip and her singing abilities?

  3. What colors would Ziggy use to paint the clubhouse?

  4. What colors would you use if you had to paint a clubhouse? Tell why.

  5. What do some of the children dream of buying with $200?

  6. Why do you think the teacher gave the homework assignment that she did?

  7. Why do you think Tulip chose the items that she did?

  8. Give examples to show that Mrs. Powell is a good teacher.

  9. Write some additional verses to Ziggy's grocery store poem.

  10. Make a prediction. What will happen between Tulip and Brandy?

Chapter 9

  1. Describe the boys' practice for the talent show.

  2. Describe their costumes for the show.

  3. Why do you think the four boys felt confident about the show?

  4. How do you know they had doubts as well?

  5. Why do you think Tulip wore the same clothes every day?

  6. What good things had happened in Tulip's life recently?

  7. What do you learn about Simon and his early problems with reading?

  8. How is Simon's situation similar to many other students?

  9. How did Mr. Stanker help Simon and change his outlook on school and reading?

  10. Practice chanting the Reader's Rap with your class. Make up additional verses to go with the chorus.

Chapter 10

  1. Describe tension backstage just before the show. Why do you think these things happened?

  2. How do you think the people in the audience felt as they waited for the show to begin?

  3. Give two reasons why the Star Spangled Banner was a good start for the show.

  4. What do you think of Brandy's poem? What do you think she is trying to say?

  5. Describe Tulip's performance.

  6. Describe the performance of the Black Dinosaurs.

  7. From the written description, who do you think did the better job--Tulip or the Black Dinosaurs?

  8. How do you think the four boys felt when they heard their name called?

  9. Why do you think they chose to give the money away, even thought they really needed it?

  10. How do you think Tulip felt about losing the competition, but winning the prize?


Use the Internet or an encyclopedia, or books to find out more about the following:

A. Information to explore and discover.

  1. talent shows

  2. homeless people in the United States

  3. homeless shelters

  4. Hurricane Katrina

  5. American folk songs and spirituals

  6. learning to play an instrument

  7. learning to sing and perform onstage

  8. writing poetry

  9. building a club house

  10. difficulties in learning to read

B. Vocabulary

  1. competition

  2. lyrics

  3. stanza

  4. refrain

  5. chorus

  6. donation

  7. enthusiastic

  8. poetry

  9. costume

  10. performance

  11. advertisement

C. Jobs to explore:

  1. music teacher

  2. social worker

  3. homeless advocate

  4. English teacher

  5. poet or songwriter

  6. musician

  7. singer

  8. emergency medical technician

  9. grocery store owner

  10. event producer

D. Investigations:

  1. Find out what happens in your town if someone has no place to live. What shelters or services are available?

    2-7. Investigate what happened during Hurricane Katrina.

  2. What a category four or five storm is

  3. The physical damage that was done

  4. The damage to businesses and jobs

  5. The damage to people and their lives

  6. The resulting homelessness and displacement of people

  7. What happened to all the pets and other animals after the storm

    8-10. List all the factors that would have to be considered to have a successful talent show.

  8. Performers and acts and tryouts and costumes

  9. Rules and regulations to make it safe and fair and sensible

  10. Costs and time and tickets and advertisements

E. Writing Activities:

  1. Tell the story of someone who was made homeless by a storm or any other terrible event they had no control over. Draw pictures to accompany your narrative.

  2. Write a story, with you as the main character, as you plan a talent show or with you as a performer.

  3. Make up a story about any performer you choose, either a real person, or someone you make up. Be creative. Describe the life of that person.

  4. Write an account of what it might be like to work at a homeless shelter. Include sights, sounds, and smells in your story.

  5. Using any of the poems or songs in the book as a model, write a poem or song of your own.

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

  7. Write a newspaper story that reports the events of the talent show at Ziggy's school. Pretend you are interviewing each performer after the show.

  8. The teacher gave the students an assignment to write an essay called "What I Would Do With Two Hundred Dollars" and to bring an ad that showed the cost of the items they chose. Do the same assignment.

  9. Mr. Cavendish said, "Without music and drama and artistic expression, we are nothing." Write an essay that explains what you think he meant. In your essay you should agree or disagree with his statement.

  10. Write a poem about Tulip.

F. Organizations and their Websites (Please note: These are listed for further study and investigation and are informational purposes only. Use with children at your discretion.)

  1. Poetry for kids
  2. Poetry for kids
  3. Talent shows
  4. Writing songs with children
  5. Basic information on Katrina
  6. CNN report on Katrina
  7. Film documentary of the disaster
  8. On homelessness
  9. On ending homelessness

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