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August 11, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Author: Mark Haddon      

Page Length: 226

Reading Level: 8

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Christopher John Frances Boone narrated the story.  As it begins, Christopher has just discovered Ms. Shear’s dog, Wellington, dead in her yard.  Christopher, then, introduces himself to the reader stating that he knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and also, every prime number up to 7057.

The reader will note that the chapters in the book are numbered by prime numbers because Christopher prefers prime numbers to ordinal numbers. Christopher continues the story as he explains the events of the rest of the night in which he was taken to jail on suspicion of killing the dog.  In addition, he writes about his thought processes, his visits with Siobhan, and his relationship with his father and the death of this mother.

Christopher cannot let the death of Wellington go unsolved.  He questions neighbors, Ms. Shears, and his father to see if they might be able to help solve the mystery, but no one has any answers.  When Christopher’s father reads his book and learns of his investigation, he becomes angry and starts shouting at Chris.  The next day Chris can’t find his book.  He looks for it everywhere and when he enters his dad’s room to search, he finds evidence that his dad has not been truthful with him about his mother’s death.

A new investigation begins . . . 

REVIEW:  After reading the first two chapters of the book, it is easy to detect that Christopher is not a normal 15-year-old boy.  He is extremely intelligent, but has very low social and communication skills.  He has a very typical personality of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of Autism).

I found this book not only entertaining and intriguing, but very informative of the characteristics of Asperger’s.  Because of the reading level, it may be too difficult for the typical student in a resource class, but for those who do have high reading levels, I think they would enjoy and relate to Christopher.  It is a great book for teacher’s to read.  It helps one understand the behaviors and thought processes of a child with this disease.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Sequence of Events, Conflict, and Setting

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: Strong Language p. 81-81, 127, 160,184

RELATED BOOKS: One Child, Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism, A Spot of Bother

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=66-0099450259-1

www.randomhouse.com/vintage/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400032716

www.wikipedia.org/…/The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night-time

www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/curious_incident_dog1.asp

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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