1,473 Pages

Do you see the green puzzle piece above this sentence? Hover over it. A message will pop up. Go down to the bottom-right corner, and click "edit". Under "parameters", enter in the information about the book. (Note that you should leave "name" empty.) Then click "OK". The "information box" is now done. Once you're finished, delete this message - but don't delete the green puzzle piece!


Add your description here. Please make this description neutral, without sentences like "This is a really good book". The description is supposed to give people a taste of what the book's about, without putting your views. If you do have comments like "This is a really good book" please put them in the Reader's Reviews section.

Reader's Reviews

If you're a parent looking for brilliant, challenging young adult literature - you've found it. Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident follows the confusing and often threatening world of fifteen year-old Christopher, a mathematical genius with Asperger's Syndrome. Follow him on his fascinating journey as he sets out to investigate the mysterious murder of his neighbour's dog, facing incredible difficulties along the way.

Having won numerous awards, including the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, The Curious Incident is guaranteed to make you think, laugh and cry. Mark Haddon has written with style and sensitivity to produce a book that is easy to read, but which stays with you long after finishing it.

I would highly recommend this book for teenagers who want more of a challenging read, or perhaps for readers whose lives are affected by autism. And for parents, it is an excellent book if you simply want to gain insight into what the world look like from this incredibly unique perspective.

Reviewed by B Kaur

Book review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

Abigail Sear.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is bestseller for both adults and children, although originally written for children. Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger's syndrome narrates the book and gives the reader an insight into his life. The book has two plots, one being the reason Christopher decides to write a book which is the murder mystery. A neighbours dog is murdered and Christopher is determined to find the culprit. However, this investigation forces Christopher to embark on a new challenge, and open up a new chapter of his life. This then becomes the focus of the book as Christopher tries to find his mother after finding out she is not dead as he was led to believe.

The narrative does not follow traditional forms, and this may be due to Christopher's condition. For example, the chapters are given prime number titles, rather than traditional sequential numbers. This is because Christopher believes prime numbers are like life because "they are very logical but you could never work out the rules on them" Haddon (2004:15). The reader is shown what it is like to live with Asperger's syndrome and how this effects every day life. Haddon however, did not intend to provide information about people with Asperger's syndrome, but to show its effects on relationships and on others. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time shows this, as Christoper's condition affects his relationship with his mother and father, but also with people around him.

The book would be good for key stage two children as it helps them to understand how Asperger's syndrome can affect people. This may help them to be more understanding of others with this condition. It's language is simple and it's length is inviting to children. The meta fictional aspect however, may be challenging for children to understand as the book states early in the book "This is a murder mystery Novel", Haddon (2004:7) and continuously acknowledges that it is a book. The narrative is not always inviting to the reader as Christopher processes information differently and therefore relays it to the reader in the way he sees it. The digression chapters may also be hard for a younger audience to understand as they include Maths equations and maps. These digressions however, are Christopher doing the things he enjoys, whereas the other chapters are the things other people make him do. The book also looks at difficult issues such as grief, and the splitting up of parents. This may help children to understand these issues further.

Overall, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an excellent read, for both children and adults. It is highly recommended and opens the readers eyes to life with Asperger's syndrome. The book is humorous but also emotional, and it is no surprise it is the winner of the Whitbread book of the year.

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon


The book is written from the perspective of a 15 year old boy, Christopher, who describes himself as having behavioural problems but is presumably on the autistic spectrum. This the reader can conclude quite early on from Christopher’s detailing of his ‘rigid’ interests, reliance on routine and problems with interacting, understanding and communicating socially.

The plot is centred initially around Christopher solving the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog, after he finds the animal stabbed with a garden folk and decides to record his detective work in a murder mystery novel, this being the book we are reading. After uncovering several ‘clues’ Christopher’s father becomes agitated over his son ‘sticking his nose into other people’s business’ and confiscates the half-finished murder mystery. On trying to find the book in his father’s room, Christopher inadvertently finds many hidden letters addressed to him and realises that the story of his mother’s death has been a lie. When his father realises Christopher has discovered the truth that his mother had an affair and left them, he also confesses to killing the dog, as it was the same neighbour who his wife ran off with. Christopher quickly becomes very scared of his father as his understanding of what trust and love mean has been broken. He decides he must run away to live with his mother, knowing her address from the letters she wrote.

At this point the book becomes a description of Christopher’s journey by train and London underground to his Mother’s house, to Willesden from his hometown of Swindon. This seemingly straightforward task for a 15 year old, is described through the eyes of the autistic person and a new horror and potency is given to coping with large crowds, loud trains and the gathering of information needed to make the journey.

The story ends after his parents are forced to work together in caring for Christopher and his father buys a dog, which is Christopher’s pet but will live with him in a deal that is made to rebuild the trust between them.


I liked the book although I have some criticisms over the context in which it is written. I think the book would be suitable for some children during year 6 and for use in secondary schools.

The book is useful, particularly to those working in education as it gives a basic understanding and insight into the perspective of the person on the autistic spectrum. There are several parts of the book that I found brilliant in giving a scenario from the autistic point of view, with the rigidity or literality associated with this. For example, on returning to Swindon with his mother, Christopher asks if he can do his A-level maths the following day. His mother had rang to reorganise this while they thought they were staying in London but they were forced to come back after his mother fell out with her new partner. Now back in Swindon the day before the original exam date, Christopher doesn’t understand why he can’t fulfil his original plan to take the test and becomes angry and upset. Having worked with children and young people with autism for over 6 years in total, this part of the book rang very true with me and I have seen similar situations cause massive frustration, upset and anger for people with autism. I found this part particularly moving as it was a situation I felt I had been in and yet it was now told from the other person’s perspective, describing a welling up of pain that leads to the behaviour as an outlet or countermeasure. In general the book does convey this very important insight into understanding challenging behaviours, that they communicate something that cannot or has not been conveyed in language. If we recognise behaviour as communication we can address the roots of the problem and manage behaviour more effectively in our responses.

My criticisms of the book are that firstly in some parts it is misleading about what impairment in social imagination means. Christopher says that unlike other people he cannot imagine things that have not happened and yet he describes several fantasies and daydreams in the book. Impairment of social imagination in people with autism is more about understanding other people’s point of view or feelings or could also be associated with struggling to cope with change. I have met many very creatively imaginative people with autism and have often heard misinterpretations of their lack of social imagination as meaning unable to imagine. Another point about the book that I found unsatisfactory was that Christopher notes himself to laugh at something only once in the whole book. This I have found to be another misinterpretation of people on the autistic spectrum, that they have no sense of humour, possibly because of the over exaggerated idea of taking things literally. Also the fact that Christopher is a maths genius is a typical stereotyping of people with autism, the ‘rain man problem’ if you like. It is common to see a preference towards maths over English in education by students with autism, but it is an overused idea that people with autism are all incredible at maths and therefore a stereotype. My final and major problem with the book is relating to the context it is written in. I have never met any person with autism, who would maintain focus on an extended piece of writing like this that describes their personal life and feelings in such depth. If we consider understanding feelings and emotions as key area of difficulty, then it seems unlikely that someone would have so much insight into why they behaved in a certain way in reaction to an event or situation and even less likely that they would later choose to record it. In conjunction with this I have met very few people with autism who would give a detailed account of how they spent yesterday evening, let alone a detailed account of several weeks in different times and places, only interrupted by the occasional digression. If we again think about what impairment of social imagination and communication mean in everyday life, we can understand why looking back and describing past events is often as difficult as looking forward and talking about ones future. In fact imagination and fantasy are far easier tools and from my understanding more common in people with autism. All this aside though the book still serves an important purpose which could be useful in the classroom to educate pupils as to why certain peers at their school behave as they do, or could be useful to teaching staff in the same way. That is to give an insight into why someone would display unusual or challenging behaviours, no matter how unlikely it is that they would be able to tell you themselves.

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">Mark Haddon won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award for his powerful novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Haddon has written a lot of children’s fiction. However, he has also published novels aimed at adults, including A Spot of Bother (2006). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is about a fifteen year old boy named Christopher Boone who has Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of autism. Haddon chose to write the book through the first person, giving a voice to Christopher Boone. In doing so, he gives the reader an insight into the intricate workings of Christopher’s mind. I believe that this makes this book more accessible for children than if it was written in the third person. They are able to empathise more with the character of Christopher and feel what he feels. <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">  <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">Anybody would gain a lot from reading this book. It allows the reader to see the world through the eyes of a person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. The reader feels the anxiety, the frustration, the confusion, the longing, as well as the multitude of other emotions Christopher feels. I believe that this is a fantastic book for children to read as it will give them an understanding of people suffering from this disorder. It is a great book to read with your child. It is perhaps suited to children at the upper end of primary school and older. The book enables children to develop an understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome and other mental disorders. This will help children to understand and empathise with other classmates or members of their family or anyone who has special needs. This is really important because education and understanding of special needs combats prejudice and promotes acceptance. <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">  <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">However, I must warn parents of Haddon’s use of swear words throughout the book, which he does to make the storyline more realistic. I would advise you to read the book first and judge for yourself. If you are uncomfortable with exposing your child to these words, you might want to read small extracts or chapters to your child so they can gain from this powerful piece of writing, without being exposed to swear words. It would really be a real shame to not show your child this book because is such an important piece of writing to promote understanding and empathy for people suffering from special needs. <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">  <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"> <p align="center" class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-align: center;">“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” by Mark Hadden <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">Mark Hadden’s award winning book offers invaluable insight into the mind of a wonderful 15 year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. Christopher John Francis Boone lives with his father after his mother ‘died’ 2 years ago. After a search of the house for his confiscated ‘murder mystery novel,’ which we ourselves are currently reading, reveals that she in fact ran away with a neighbour and his discovering the identity of the dog in the title’s murderer, Christopher logically deduces escape is his only option. His subsequent journey to London reveals to the audience the pressures Autism can have on family relationship as well as the individual.  <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">Hadden has clearly put an immense amount of research and effort into this book, down to the detail of the chapter numbers only including prime numbers simply because his protagonist likes prime numbers (p14.) This book does not just educate its readers as to the inner thoughts and processes of a young person with learning needs; Christopher rarely mentions a scientific or mathematical concept without taking at least a few paragraphs to explain it further.                                                  <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;"> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">In a slightly ironic way, the audience cannot help but empathise with Christopher’s severe lack of empathy for the other charters in the book. The entire work is in the first person, illustrating Christopher’s unintentional egotistical world view. At first children may find the continual disruption to the story where Christopher shares his various insights about the world difficult to follow. However, once they begin to relate to the protagonist at a deeper level, such interruptions should become expected and easier to deal with.

It should be noted that this book is only suitable for use with older KS2 children. There are certain uses of potentially inappropriate language which the teachers or parents may wish to address beforehand. In spite of that, this book is a great inclusion resource. It gives valuable insight into the logical processes which result in Christopher’s seemingly thoughtless reactions, such as making strange noises (p8) or even lashing out at a policemen (p9.) It could be used easily as a catalyst for a PSHE discussion and help remove any confusion based fear children may have surrounding this kind of disability. Christopher reveals the origins of this story to be his social worker’s idea that “I should write something I would like to write myself.” (p5)  This would also be a great start to an extended individual writing task for older children, potentially beginning with a discussion regarding what they would write a book about. <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">I believe this book to be a brilliant story and resource for the home and classroom. I would however suggest it be read with adult supervision as it contains some fairly complex social and emotional issues.

Jpg qr code

The Curious Incident Book Trailer


<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">Book Review by Hannah Brace

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:150%;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ is a murder-mystery novel with a twist. The novel is written in first person as Christopher, a fifteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is important to note that at no point in the novel is there a label placed on Christopher’s character, i.e. there is no mention of Asperger’s or autism throughout. The author, Mark Haddon, despite having previously worked with children with autism, claims that he did very little research on the disorder and did not intend for his book to be anything but a work of fiction. Christopher is encouraged to write a book about his investigations, when he discovers his neighbour’s (Mrs. Shears’) dog, Wellington, murdered in her back garden. Throughout his investigations, he uncovers some unexpected secrets, and has to overcome some of his deepest fears and habits.

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:150%;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:150%;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:150%;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">To reflect Christopher’s love of mathematics, the chapters are numbered by prime numbers, and there are many mathematical diagrams throughout. He loves maths because he feels like it’s “safe” and he can always deduce an answer, which is unlike in real life. He struggles to understand human emotions and cannot look at people to understand or deduce what they are thinking. The narrative style of the book mirrors Christopher’s condition and he explains how his Asperger’s affects his day-to-day life, and the coping strategies he adopts to get by. He is very literal with his thinking and he dislikes any situation where he cannot tell the truth or when other people don’t tell the truth.

<p class="MsoNormal" style="line-height:150%;mso-pagination:none;mso-layout-grid-align: none;text-autospace:none">I would consider using this novel when teaching a KS2 class as an aid to a PSHE lesson. The novel is written for a young adult audience and could be used to help them understand developmental and behavioural disorders, such as autism. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon’s ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time would probably be most suitable for children in KS3 and KS4. It is written from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old boy called Christopher who has an Autistic Spectrum Condition. The book is based on Christopher working out the mystery of who killed Wellington the dog. In order to do this he has to experience things that are out of his comfort zone. The theme of the book becomes a murder mystery of Christopher trying to find out who killed this dog. The story uncovers some truths for Christopher, especially about his mother, who he’d been told had died. He finds out that his Dad lied to him and that his mother is in fact alive. Christopher sets out to find her. In order to do this he has to navigate the complex world around him, which he finds difficult.

This book is both intriguing and insightful into the life of this boy with his condition. I feel that writing the book from his perspective is extremely valuable in giving an audience the understanding of his thought processes. The chapters of the book are all prime numbers because these are the numbers Christopher likes. This immediately intrigues the reader because the first chapter is labelled ‘2’. Throughout the book Christopher illustrates his thought processes and how he is understanding things, which again I feel is important for the reader. Mark Haddon allows the reader to enter Christopher’s mind and go on his journey with him.

I first read this book as part of my A level English Literature and I was touched by it then. Reading it again a few years later and it has again left me feeling that this book has important messages within it. I will point out that there is very strong language in the book and it would not be appropriate for young children. The ideas and thought processes that are in the book would probably be too complex for younger children to grasp. It is honest and thought provoking throughout and I feel that it is a book for both children and adults. It would also be a valuable read for anyone wanting to work with children. I think it is a fantastically well written book. These are my thoughts on this book.

(M. Shemeld) <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;">

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;">

<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt"> </p>

<p class="MsoNormal">

<p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt"> </p>

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: add your suggested reading age
  • Reading Aloud Age: add your suggested read-aloud age

Add comments about the book's suitability, possible concerns and content. If the book is totally clean put "Clean".

If you like this you might like

  • List other books or authors here

External links

Add external links here

Nuvola apps bookcase This article is a stub. You can help Children's Books Wiki by expanding it.

I initially read this book not long after it was published in 2003, aged around 13. Ten years on I can still remember the impact that it had upon me in terms of first making me aware of Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Special Educational Needs. The book follows Christopher, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and his search to find out who has killed his neighbour’s dog and left it slain on their front lawn. Whilst this may make the book sound like a murder mystery, the way that Christopher is both helped and hindered by Asperger’s Syndrome are constantly at the fore. This book opens up greater questions about how each individual mind works and of special educational needs and extracts of this book could explore the experiences of people with additional needs in the wider world.

Warning: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time does have some use of bad language and some themes which are adult in nature. Therefore I would advise familiarising yourself with the book and thinking carefully before allowing your child to read this book unguided.

Reading Age: 11+

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.