The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Bibliographic Information:

Haddon, Mark (2008). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time. New York: Vintage Books.

Plot Description: Christopher is a brilliant 15 year old math genius, whose autism makes some aspects of daily life, like interacting with other people, difficult. On one of Christopher’s night-time strolls through the neighborhood he discovers that Mrs. Shear’s dog, Wellington has been killed. Christopher resolves to find the killer, despite his father’s warnings to let it go. Christopher shares all his musings and the rationales behind everything he does as he takes readers along on his daily routine and attempts to sole the mysterious death. In pursuit of Wellington’s murderer, Christopher discovers clues to his own family’s secrets, which will turn his world upside down and lead him on journey.

Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: 1180L, ATOS Book Level: 5.4 , Interest Level: Upper Grades (9-12), AR Points: 10

Qualitative Reading Analysis: First person narrative from the point of view of a 15 year old boy who is autistic. It is told in stream of conscious, as if the narrator were telling the reader everything that he was thinking and not holding anything back. He is very straight forward and easy to understand. Even though the narrator does not lie, since he believes it is wrong, he is sometimes unreliable because he does not have all the facts or does not always understand the facts. Metaphors and sarcasm are used by adult characters, which are not understood by the narrator who takes everything literally. The vocabulary is contemporary and familiar. The narrator explains anything that would not be common knowledge (and some things that are). The sentences are mostly simple and compound, with some complex construction too. The organization of chapters are non-traditional. There are some very short chapters, less than a page even and the chapters are only prime numbers. This is because the narrator likes prime numbers, which he explains in chapter 19. The story is told chronologically, except when explicitly stated by the narrator that he is referring to something in the past. There are little graphics, charts, tables and illustrations throughout the book to help the narrator explain different concepts and events.

Content Area: English, Math

Content Area Standard: CA CCSS English Language Arts: Reading Standards for Literature 6–12 Craft and Structure

3.Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters/archetypes are introduced and developed).

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6 Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).

High School Geometry: Similarity, Right Triangles, & Trigonometry

Prove theorems involving similarity CCSS.Math.Content.HSG.SRT.B.4 Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

Curriculum Suggestions: Students can analyze the organization of the story and it’s unusual chapters. They can also compare and contrast the story with the common elements of mystery or detective genres. Have students look for examples of figurative language in the text and explain how this language is perceived by the narrator. Students can research autism to better understand what Christopher is dealing with in his everyday life. Students can incorporate art by designing a new cover for the novel or illustrating a scene from the story. Have students write about an event in Christopher’s style. Have students learn about some of the science or math concepts that Christopher talks about. For example, research formulas and rules needed to solve the triangle math problem in the appendix.

Supporting Digital Content:

http://www.randomhouse.co.nz/content/teachers/TN_CuriousIncidentOfTheDogInTheNighttime_Apr04.pdf

http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/library/books/thecuriousincidentofthedoginthenighttime.htm

http://curiousincidentunit.wikispaces.com/

Awards: Carnegie Medal, YALSA Top Ten, Costa/Whitbread Children’s Award, Alex Award, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Booklist Editors’ Choice, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

Character names/descriptions: Christopher who is very gifted at mathematics, but struggles with day to day life. His father with whom he lives. Siobhan the teacher with whom he discusses everything. Mrs. Shear the neighbor whose dog is killed.

High interest annotation: Christopher is the fifteen year old Autistic narrator, whose search for the killer of Wellington (the neighbor’s dog), leads him to uncover secrets about his own family.

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