Tag Archives: England


Bibliographic Information: Gaiman, Neil. (1999). Stardust. New York: Avon Books.

Plot Description: Tristan makes a promise to his beloved Victoria, that he will bring back a fallen star for her and then they will marry. This promise is the beginning of Tristan’s adventures. He sneaks through the only hole in the wall (which separates his sleepy English town ‘Wall’ from the world of the faeries) in search of the fallen star. The star turns out to be nothing like he expected and together they meet an assortment of unusual and mysterious characters, while braving all sorts of dangers on their journey through the enchanted world of Faerie. To complicate matters, Tristan is not the only one searching for the fallen star, which holds the key to youth, power and dark magic for evil witches in the land. These witches will stop at nothing to take the star from Tristan and destroy her to gain the magic they desire.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 970L Interest Level: Upper Grades ATOS Book Level: 6.2

Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story contains multiple levels of meaning. The genre is familiar, but the text bends and expands the rules of the genre. Organization adheres to most conventions, but often shifts the readers focus to another perspective, time, place or event before returning to the main characters. The story is told in third person omniscient narration, by a credible voice that provides an appropriate level of detail. The same graphic is used to mark the beginning of each new chapter. The text organization has more than one storyline and is at times difficult to predict. The text has complex sentences with subordinate clauses and transition words. The story explores themes of varying levels of complexity. As it is a fantasy story, experiences portrayed will not be common to readers. Though elements of the story will be familiar, as they are conventions used in fantasy/fairytales that readers likely know.

Content Area: Reading, Literature

Content Area Standard:

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.9
Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).

Curriculum Suggestions: Discuss with students some common elements of fairytales. Have students look for fairytale elements in the novel. Have students write about whether or not they think the novel is a fairy tale, providing textual support to backup their claims, then have students share their ideas in a class discussion.

Supporting Digital Content:


Awards: Publishers Weekly Best Book; Alex Award

Character names/descriptions: Tristan, Victoria his beloved, the beautiful Fallen Star, Evil Witches who want the star for her magic and a number of other strange characters from the faerie realm.

Personal Thoughts: A highly enjoyable, magical adventure. Compelling characters who inhabit an interesting, fantastical world. I highly recommend this story and the film version as well.

High interest annotation: Tristan’s adventures begin when he promises to bring his love a fallen star. Little does he know, the task will take him to a magical world, where he will need all his bravery and cunning to keep the star safe from the others who pursue her.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading For Pleasure (Chapter Books)

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:




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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diverse Characters