Ever had one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? Your town gets invaded by an army of brain-scoffing zombies. Have you ever had one of those days? You haven’t? Well, Melvin McGee is having one of those days … and it’s not even lunchtime yet!
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- The story begins with a list of things that ‘your average ten-year-old boy worries about’. Could you make a list of things that characters from other stories might worry about (e.g. things that Goldilocks worries about or things that Harry Potter worries about)?
- In chapter 1, the author lists some misconceptions about zombies. Could you make up a list of misconceptions about other fictional (or real) creatures (e.g. misconceptions about otters, unicorns or garden gnomes)?
- Make a list of words and phrases that the author uses to describe Melvin in chapter 2. As you read the story, add your own suggestions to this list. Could you use some of these ideas to describe characters in your own writing?
- Write the newspaper article that is based on the headline in Martin McGee’s newspaper at the end of Chapter 2 (Deadly Disease Drives Doctors Doolally).
- Could you make your own alliterative newspaper headlines based on a zombie outbreak?
- Many of the chapters end with a cliffhanger. Can you make a list of these and try to use some in your own writing?
- Does the story contain any words that you are unfamiliar with (e.g. elucidate, reverberate, immobilise). Can you create a list of these and find out what they mean?
- Retell part of this story from Melvin’s point of view.
- Write Melvin’s diary entry for his birthday.
- Think of some speech / thought bubbles and captions to accompany the illustrations in the book.
- Create a character profile for Melvin.
- Create a poster that warns people about the zombies, teaches them about their behaviour and helps them to stay safe.
- At the end of chapter 9, Melvin is ready to leave SuperSave. Should he go? Make a list of ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments.
- Write a new paragraph that describes something that Melvin sees when he leaves SuperSave in chapter 10.
- Can you find any examples of onomatopoeia in the story?
- In chapter 12, Melvin’s mum says, “I’m not angry at you Melvin, I’m just very disappointed”. Use this as the opening line for a new story of your own.
- Trevor Plant’s name is an anagram of Petrov Larnt. Can you make up some anagrams using the letters in your own name?
- The school caretaker has a secret identity as the scientist Doctor Larnt. Can you imagine a secret identity for yourself (or a person that you know) and write an adventure story based on this character?
- Carry out role-play activities based on different parts of the story. Interview the characters to discuss how they are feeling and what they plan to do next.
- Write a prequel that describes the beginning of the outbreak when Mr Woods began taste testing at the food company.
- Retell the story from Mr Woods’ point of view.
- Write a script for Melvin’s “Show and Tell” in which he explains what happened to Mr Woods.
- Write a newspaper interview with Melvin about how he saved Flinchester.
- Can you write an alternative ending for the story?
- Create a sequel to this story. What happens next?
- Create a timeline that shows the main events in the story each day.
- The zombie outbreak is caused by a deadly disease. What are diseases? How can people try to keep themselves healthy?
- Doctor Larnt was paid to experiment on chickens to make them tastier and healthier. What methods do farmers and scientists use to increase the quality and quantity of food that is produced today? Can you research the topic and write a report about it?
- Create a report about one of the grabbanimals.
- Make a game in which a character has to escape from zombies. The character could move on foot or use the McGeeMobile.
- Use image editing software to turn a photo of yourself into a zombie.
- Use publishing software to make a poster that explains what to do in a zombie outbreak.
- Make a stop-motion animation based on these characters.
- Use the reporter’s script in Chapter 7 to record a TV report about the outbreak.
- Can you make a book trailer to promote the book to others? Use this example for inspiration:
- Design a shelter that will protect people from zombies.
- Design a new protective suit for Melvin to wear.
- Design a new McGeeMobile that will help Melvin to escape from the zombies.
- In Chapter 4, Melvin sees his teacher (who is now a zombie). Can you create an illustration of a zombie version of yourself?
- Create an illustration of a grabbanimal.
- Make a storyboard that retells a particularly exciting part of the story.
- Could you create a comic strip that retells a chapter (or more)?
- Create illustrations of some of the locations in the story, e.g. Melvin’s school, the SuperSave, Mr. Plant’s secret science lab.
- Could you compose a new tune to accompany the book’s trailer? (see above)
- In chapter 13, Chloe creates a packing list for her ‘trip of a lifetime’. Can you create your own packing list for an amazing world trip? Can you plan where you would like to go?
- Create a map that shows the different parts of Flinchester Zoological Park. Can you create directions to help people navigate from one part to another?
- The story begins with a list of things that ‘your average ten-year-old boy worries about’. What do you worry about? What do your friends worry about? What could you do to reduce your anxiety?