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Before Jack Frost was Jack Frost, he was Nightlight, the most trusted and valiant companion of Mim, the Man in the Moon. But when Pitch destroys Mim’s world, he nearly destroys Nightlight too, sending him plunging to Earth where, like Peter Pan, he is destined to remain forever a boy, frozen in time. And while Nightlight has fun sailing icy winds and surfing clouds, he is also lonely without his friend Mim. To keep the cold in his heart from taking over, he spreads it to the landscapes around him and earns a new name: Jack Overland Frost.
But a true friend always comes through, and on one particularly bleak night, Mim shines down and shows Jack a group of children in great peril. Through helping them, Jack finds the warmth he’s been yearning for, and he realizes bringing joy to others can melt his own chill. It is this realization—that there will always be children who need moments of bravery, who need rosy cheeks, who need to build snowmen, and who are then eager for a spring day—that makes Jack realize why he is a forever boy, and worthy of becoming a Guardian of Childhood.
1. What is the purpose of a nightlight? How did Nightlight help the Man in the Moon? Why do you think the author chose the name Nightlight for his character?
2. Nightlight promised the Man in the Moon’s parents he would protect their child. Is there ever a time when someone promises something that cannot be fulfilled? Was Nightlight successful in keeping his promise?
3. What is the importance of the friendship between the Man in the Moon and Jack Frost? Who is taking care of whom?
4. What is a hero? What is a guardian? What is the difference between them, or is there any difference?
5. What is an oath? What is a pledge? Research the definitions of these words and compare them.
6. Nightlight’s life changed once he saved the young Man in the Moon from the Nightmare King, Pitch. What happened to Nightlight?
7. When Jack awakened he was an icy boy of Earth whose breath or touch brought spirals of frost. What other talents did Jack now possess?
8. Even though Jack had many talents, he still was missing something in his life he could not remember. He was always cold. What happened to the earth as his coldness entered the earth?
9. Why did the Man in the Moon send memories of courage and kindness to Jack? How did these memories affect Jack? What was Jack’s response to them?
10. What is Jack Frost’s formal name? How did he get this name? What is the significance of his name?
11. Nightlight swore an oath to the Man in the Moon’s parents. As Jack Frost, he changes the oath Nightlight said. What changes were made? What did these changes mean to Jack Frost?
12. What signs does Jack Frost leave behind so people know he is still around and guarding children?
1. From the illustrations in the front of the book, compare the Nightmare Galleon to the Moon Clipper. How are they alike and how are they different?
2. Compare a nightlight to the character Nightlight. How are they the same and how are they different? Make a Venn diagram to help illustrate their similarities and differences.
3. How long does it take to sing a lullaby? Time how long it takes to sing a lullaby and then compare that time to the speed of light. How fast is Jack Frost?
4. Research frost and discover the variables that change the amount and look of frost. Then make some frost! Use a clean tin can, add some crushed ice halfway to the top, add some salt and water, and wait. Soon you will see frost crystals forming on the can!
5. Write a poem about Jack Frost. The poem could be about his adventures guarding children, it could be about Jack Frost leaving his trademark on windows for children to find, or it could be about what frost means scientifically, to name a few ideas. Use your imagination!
Guide prepared by Lynn Dobson, librarian at East Brookfield Elementary School, East Brookfield, MA.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
William Joyce does a lot of stuff but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Numberlys, The Man in the Moon, Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also his Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Talk to William Joyce and look at upcoming work at @HeyBillJoyce on Twitter and Instagram.