The Last Kids on Earth

The Last Kids on Earth
by Max Brallier

Illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Meet Max.

Max at Simon and Schuster.

Illustrator Information:

Meet Douglas Holgate.

Activities & Resources:


Homemade weapons:

Design your own “Big Mama” machine.

Using cardboard, create armor to survive a zombie/monster apocalypse.

Make a zip line and try it out. Remember to get an adult’s permission first:

Build a catapult:


Make your own slingshot. (but don’t shoot anybody with it):

Apocalypse survival:

Map out your own neighborhood. Mark where the safe spots would be, where you think the monsters and zombies would hang out, and your paths for traveling safely.

Make plans for a zombie apocalypse. What kinds of things would you need or want? How would you defend yourself and your home base?

With a friend, develop your own secret handshake.

How would you prevent anarchy? Write down your own survival rules. Develop some rules or laws that you and your friends could live by:

Design clothes you would wear that are useful, functional, and comfortable for a zombie apocalypse:

Repurpose everyday items so they would be useful in a monster/zombie apocalypse. Improvise with your creations.

Draw your own post-apocalyptic illustrations, like those in the novel. You may want to include thought clouds to show what the characters are thinking.

Learn and practice the Cotton-eyed Joe (video 3:42):

Practice your photography skills. Ask an adult if you can borrow a camera, then take some different types of photos.



Quint arms himself with science. Using some safe chemicals, create some “weapons” you think Quint could use:

More experiments:

Even more experiments:

And some more:

Using the scientific method, design some experiments you would perform in a zombie apocalypse.

Devise a plan to train “pet” monsters, such as Rover:

Look into and learn about ham radios:

Warrior princesses:

MakerSpace Activities:

Design and create your own monster. Provide paper bags, glue, glitter and various other arts and crafts items for children to use.

Providing art and craft supplies, let children build a diorama of their own treehouse, similar to the one in the book.

Using paper towel rolls and various crafting supplies, create your own zombie weapon.

Provide fabric scraps and crafting glue so children can create their own monster pet, like Rover.

Using paper towel rolls, create your own periscope:

Create your own spy gear:

Discussion Questions:

What do you think caused the monster apocalypse? Do you think this could really happen? What do you think an apocalypse is?

Jack has improvised his weapons from things he had around his house. If you were Jack, what do you think you would have created?

Quint wants to stay in his house to do research in his lab. Do you think he made the right decision to go to the treehouse with Jack? Why or why not?

Why do you think Jack wants to save the world?

Jack has a stash of oreos and Mountain Dew. If you were in his place, what things would you want to have?

Who or what do you think Blarg is?

Would you like a vehicle like Big Mama? If you could build one, what devices and improvements would you add?

Jack has made many improvements in his treehouse. What sort of improvements would you make to a treehouse?

Do you agree with Quint that it’s important to document everything that’s going on?

Why does Jack feel he needs to rescue June? Do you agree?

If you were in Jack’s position, what things would you miss? What would you not miss?

Why does June want to stay in the middle school? Where would you want to stay if you were in this situation? Why or why not?

What do you think about the monster pet that follows Jack home? Would you like a monster pet? Why or why not?

Throughout the book, there are illustrations and drawings. Do you find them helpful? Do they provide any information about the story? Do you think they should’ve been left out? Why or why not?

Do you think the photos Jack takes are important? Quint feels they are good for research. Would you keep photos if you were in this situation? Why or why not?

June and Dirk arm themselves with weapons, but Quint arms himself with science. Which one do you think is more important, or are they both equally important? Why do you feel this way?

Would you like a wrist-rocket like Jack’s? Do you think a slingshot would be good to use against zombies? Why or why not?

Jack doesn’t have a cell phone. Do you think one would’ve been helpful in his current situation? Why or why not? How has his walkie-talkie worked out?

Do you think Jack and his friends are alone in the world or do you think there are other kids out there? Why do you believe this?

Where do you think all the adults have gone? Do you think they’ll find adults in the world somewhere? What do you think Jack’s new world will be like?

Book Talk Teasers: (1:13) (2:26)

Read Alikes:


McDonald, Megan. A pair of friends in Winter. It’s cold outside and time for bugs to hunker down for the winter, but Ant isn’t ready to be all by herself for months on end without her best friend, Honey Bee, so she braves the cold for one last surprise visit before the snow flies. (NoveList)

McGuiness, Dan. Pilot & Huxley: the next adventure. Pilot and Huxley just want to go home. But a press of a button sends them on an unexpected side trip to the holiday lands. Halloween may have zombies, but the land of Christmas is where the scary stuff happens. Hitching a ride with Santa to Earth might not be as easy as they thought, especially when Pilot and Huxley find themselves on the entertainment menu.  (NoveList)


Deas, Mike. Dalen and Gole: scandal in Port Angus. Dalen and Gole, refugees on Earth from the distant planet of Budap, must solve the mystery of diminishing fish stocks and save their home planet from an devil plot. (NoveList)

Kerr, Philip. The winter horses. “Kalinka, a Ukrainian Jewish girl on the run from the Nazis, finds unlikely help from two rare Przewalski horses”–. (NoveList)

Shea, Bob. Kid sheriff and the terrible Toads. The Toad brothers are wreaking havoc in Drywater Gulch when a boy with no experience but immense knowledge of dinosaurs rides into town on his tortoise and declares himself the new sheriff. (NoveList)


Bacigalupi, Paolo. Zombie baseball beatdown. In this inventive, fast-paced novel, the “New York Times”-bestselling and Printz Award-winning author of “Ship Breaker” takes on hard-hitting themes from food safety to racism and immigration and creates a zany, grand-slam adventure that will get kids thinking about where their food comes from. (

McCreely, Havelock. My zombie hamster. Matt Hunter and his buddies are looking forward to Christmas–actually, they’re looking forward to receiving the latest sword-and-fantasy video game. But Matt’s parents have other thoughts–they give him a fluffy little mammal, a hamster called Snuffles, for the holiday. And his grandmother makes it worse by giving him a hamster cage and wheel. But the hamster isn’t all that cute-(

Whitehouse, Howard. Zombie Elementary. Larry Mullet is your typical fourth grader. He’s not the biggest kid or the smartest kid or the best looking kid. He rides his bike, plays baseball, takes the school bus, avoids cafeteria food, and–oh yeah, he’s a zombie hunting expert. Larry was just doing his usual thing when Alex Bates from Ms Hoag’s class tried to eat him. Sadly, that was only the beginning. Something odd was going on at Brooks Elementary. (


Rusch, Elizabeth. The mighty Mars rovers: the incredible adventures of spirit and opportunity. The story of the two robot vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity, that were sent to explore Mars, lasting far past their projected lives of 3 months and sending back invaluable images of the environmentally hostile planet. (Houghton Mifflin) (NoveList)

Smith, David J. If…: a mind-bending new way of looking at big ideas and numbers. The author scales down a number of concepts from such topics as space, time, inventions, resources, humanity and more. For example, if the sun were the size of a grapefruit, earth would be the size of a grain of salt. (NoveList)

Science fiction:

Brallier, Max. The last kids on earth and the zombie parade. Jack and his three best friends must discover why the zombies are disappearing, and along the way encounter pizza parlor monsters, an ancient evil who destroys worlds, and the best stereo system a treehouse can hold. (NoveList)

Chad, Jon. Leo Geo and his miraculous journey through the center of the earth. Armed with scientific knowledge and a magic dagger, Leo is determined to outwit man-eating Quadclops giants and Malvisors and travel to the center of the earth. (NoveList)

Clark, Henry. What we found in the sofa (and how it saved the world). Finding a rare zucchini-colored crayon leads twelve-year-old River Monroe and his friends on an adventure with their eccentric neighbor to save Earth from invading interstellar storm troopers. (NoveList)

Dashner, James. A mutiny in time. Time has gone wrong, and best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste, together with the young Hystorian Riq, must use the infinity ring to travel back to one of the Great Breaks–a mutiny on the Santa Maria–to correct history and defeat the SQ. (NoveList)

Jobling, Curtis. Max Helsing and the thirteenth curse. “Max van Helsing and a group of friends try to save the world after he discovers he has been cursed by an evil warlock who intends to reclaim the earth for monsters”–. (NoveList)

Jung, Mike. Geeks, girls, and secret identities. Twelve-year-old Vincent and his fellow members of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club help out when someone new becomes Earth’s most famous superhero, without knowing anything about him, just as evil Professor Mayhem and his robot arrive in Copperplate City. (NoveList)

Klass, David. Stuck on Earth. On a secret mission to evaluate whether the human race should be annihilated, a space alien inhabits the body of a bullied fourteen-year-old boy. (NoveList)

Mason, Timothy. The last synapsid. Hearing rumors about a strange creature in the mountains, brave Rob and Phoebe go to investigate and discover the Last Synapsid, a dinosaur-like creature, who needs help in chasing down the Gorgon, a carnivorous gorgonsopid, whose reckless time-travelling will result in disaster for the human race. (NoveList)

Moore, Stuart. Earthlight. Vol. 1. The Earthlight Lunar Colony is the first international moon colony, and so has its share of tensions, which only escalate for fifteen-year-old Damon, who becomes a student at the newly established Earthlight Academy–a school run by his mother. (NoveList)

Ross, Joel. The Fog diver. “In this futuristic high-stakes adventure, humanity clings to cities on the highest mountain peaks above the deadly Fog, and airships transport the pirates of the skies. Daring 13-year-old tether boy Chess and his salvage crew must face the dark plans of Lord Kodoc and work to save their beloved Mrs. E”–.Series: Fog diver novels, 1 (NoveList)

Rust, Ned. Patrick Griffin’s last breakfast on earth. “A 12-year-old boy sets out on a crazy adventure through parallel worlds and learns he and a giant bunny are the key to saving the universe”–.Series: Patrick Griffin and the three worlds, 1 (NoveList)

Strasser, Todd. How I spent my last night on Earth. When a rumor appears on the Internet that a giant asteroid is about to destroy Earth, Legs Hanover scrambles to meet the boy of her dreams, elusive Andros Bliss. (NoveList)

Torday, Piers. The dark wild. “After gathering together the Last Wild, the last animals still alive, Kester Jaynes is faced with a new task–facing the Dark Wild, the animals who live underground and want to destroy humankind”–. (NoveList)

Book Reviews:                                                                                                                                                                                 Horn Book

Brallier, Max The Last Kids on Earth.  231 pp. Viking.   2015. ISBN 978-0-670-01661-7
(3) 4–6 Illustrated by Douglas Holgate.

Before the monster apocalypse, Jack Sullivan was an ordinary thirteen-year-old orphan. Now he’s a butt-kicking hero with a tricked-out tree fort. But Jack learns that he’ll need more than razor Frisbees to beat the big baddie Blarg—he’ll need friendship. Fast-paced plotting and humor work in tandem with the comic book–style illustrations on almost every page.    From the Spring 2016 issue of The Horn Book Guide.   Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc.,

School Library Journal   

[STARRED].  BRALLIER, Max. The Last Kids on Earth. illus. by Douglas Holgate. 240p. ebook available. Viking. Oct. 2015. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780670016617.

Gr 3-6–An apocalyptic monster attack has destroyed the town of Wakefield, leaving gigantic, slime-filled creatures in its wake. It appears that the entire population has been turned into zombies, except for 13-year-old Jack Sullivan. Jack is an abandoned foster kid trying to survive the catastrophe while living in a tricked-out tree house. In his daily fight for survival, which includes hand-to-hand combat using makeshift weapons, he locates two of his fellow students. One’s a science geek, and the other’s an oversize school bully. They unite to form a small army and set off to rescue a classmate they believe is trapped in their decimated school. The chapter book/graphic novel hybrid is fast moving and action packed. Loaded with outrageous devices such as a rolling ball of zombies, a revenge-filled creature with bad eyesight called BLARGH, and a monster-dog name Rover, this book provides loads of laughs. The characters are fully developed and honest in their adolescent interactions. Yet what sets this story apart from the typical gross-out fare is how these modern-day action heroes work through their emotions, which include love, loss, and extreme fear. Dynamic pencil sketches add to the hilarity. For readers looking to make the transition from chapter books to graphic novels, this is a foolproof initiation. VERDICT A gross-out good time with surprisingly nuanced character development.–Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library. © Copyright 2015.  Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal,  Copyright 2015.