Boom! (Or 70,000 Light Years)
An explosive, highly charged, and hilarious middle-grade adventure from Mark Haddon, acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. From the moment that Jim and his best friend, Charlie, bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way. But what does "spudvetch" actually mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they are aliens. Whatever it is, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out. There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way . . . with a BOOM! From the Hardcover edition.
The curriculet is being added to your library
Chapter 1 - Helicopter Sandwich
The speaker is using the pronoun "I." What does that tell you about the story?
A "flat" is a European term for an apartment. Did you know that you can look up any word in the book or in the questions and answer choices? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear.
We have been introduced to the narrator and his sister Becky. As you read, you will learn more about them. Watch this video to learn how characters develop in a story. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the way Becky and her brother interact, what can you tell about their relationship?
Chapter 2 - Bad Things
Think about the way the author tells the story. Watch this video to figure out how the author has structured the story. (This annotation contains a video)
How has the author structured the text?
A walkie-talkie is a portable two-way radio you can use to converse with someone from a distance. (This annotation contains an image)
Why are Jimbo and Charlie going to put a walkie-talkie in the staff room at school?
Chapter 3 - Walkie-Talkie
Jimbo most likely questions the situation by asking "what else could I do" because
Jimbo is referring to Charlie's mom and Becky's "craterface" boyfriend.
There is an illustration on this page of a walkie talkie. Think about what is happening in the story. Why did the author include this illustration in this chapter?
What motivates Charlie to tell Mr. Kidd he has a "personal problem?"
Which line from the text shows that Jim is confused by the conversations his teachers are having?
It appears that the teachers are speaking another language. Is there something about them the boys don't know about?
Chapter 4 - Doing It the Simple Way
Which event motivated Jim to say this line about his Dad?
In this paragraph, Jim is trying to figure out why his teachers were speaking another language. What do you think he will discover?
Mr. Kidd reads strange material. Arsenal is a collection of weapons and military equipment stored by a country, person, or group. Why do you think he's reading about this topic?
Why does Jim think it's a good idea to passively interrogate his teacher instead of asking him directly which language they were speaking?
Jim most likely compares Mr. Kidd to Charlie's piggy bank to
This sentence contains a simile which is a popular form of figurative language. Watch this video to learn more about similes and metaphors then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 5 - Burglary
Why is Jim pretending to be sick?
Based on the dialogue between Jim and Charlie, we can tell that they have different views of the situation.
Since Jim has stepped back from solving the mystery, the author has Charlie spying on Mr. Kidd to progress the story forward. Do you think Charlie is taking the right approach to solving this mystery?
Based on Jim's reaction to Charlie's behavior, how are the two boys different?
This is a heightened part in the arc of the story. These events create suspense because it appears that the characters are in danger. Read to find out if they get caught.
Chapter 6 - Captain Chicken
In 2-3 sentences, explain why Jim thinks Mrs. Brooks knows "absolutely nothing about her son." Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
These actions show that Dr. Brooks is carefully examining the code. Notice the other character actions to figure out what they are thinking or feeling.
As a story progresses, we learn more about the characters, and we notice when they change. Watch this video to learn about character development.
Which line from the text shows that Dad is a dynamic character?
Who are "The Watchers?"
This descriptive language shows that the man is becoming angry with Charlie. It appears that he is trying to scare the boys into stopping their investigation.
As the story progresses, themes are beginning to emerge. Watch this video to learn about how themes develop then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the boy's encounter with the mysterious man, which theme is beginning to emerge?
Chapter 7 - Raspberry Pavlova
This is an interesting development. This is the first time Becky has ever really paid attention to Jim. Could their relationship change as a result of Jim's conflict?
Based on the context, why did the author choose to use the word "gabbling" to describe Jim?
Based on some of the words used in the story like "flat" and "Mum," we can tell that the story takes place in England. Also, the fact that Jim's Dad allows him a glass of wine shows a different cultural context. As you continue to read, notice other aspects of the story that reveal the setting.
What does the simile "slept like a log" mean?
Chapter 8 - Goodbye, Charlie
Based on what has happened to Charlie, which theme has been solidified in the story?
Stories often follow a typical story arc. We have reached the climax of the story since one of the main characters is in trouble. Watch this video to learn what comes next in the arc. (This annotation contains a video)
Which detail in the text adds to a feeling of urgency?
The Isle of Skye is a real place in Scotland. This is what it looks like there. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 9 - Vroom
Which line from the text shows that Jim is brave?
These lines bring a feeling of relief to the situation. Could Craterface be coming to rescue Jim?
By saying this, Becky is showing that she finally believes Jim's wild story about his teachers.
The author most likely compares the Volvo to a fighter jet to
Chapter 10 - The Road North
In 2-3 sentences, explain how Becky views her brother Jim. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Ordnance Survey is Great Britain's national mapping agency. Visit their website to learn more about the organization. (This annotation contains a link)
Being on the road, on a mission and sleeping in sleeping bags, gives this story a sense of adventure. Notice other details the author includes to create suspense and mystery in this story.
Which line from the text shows that the feelings of anxiety are beginning to subside?
Chapter 11 - The Bad Step
These are the villains from a popular movie called "The Matrix." How are these bad guys similar to the ones described in this story? (This annotation contains an image)
Becky and Jim are walking in a strange land. It is rare to see hundreds of rabbits in a field. Could this place be magic?
As it is used on context, "trainers" most likely means
This is an image of the real Cuillin Hills in Scotland. How does this image compare to the way it is described in the text? (This annotation contains an image)
Which line from the text creates a feeling of impending doom?
Chapter 12 - Taking the Tube
This is the first time Jim has looked to Becky for comfort in this way. Their relationship has changed for the better. Based on their actions, it is clear that they are closer now.
Why do you think the author decided to include the title in this part of the story?
The scene of Jim being lowered into an unknown tube brings __________ to the story.
This action shows that Becky is trying desperately to save and help her brother. What do you predict will happen to Jim?
Jim most likely wishes he was having breakfast back home with his family because he is fearing for his life.
According to Vantresillion, where has Jim been transported to?
Chapter 13 - Short Hairy Tails
What do "the watchers" plan to do with Jim?
By naming the giant spider Britney, the author has added an element of humor into the story. This changes the mood.
Chapter 14 - Little Blue Suckers
What does this line reveal about "the watchers?"
This snarky comment shows that Jim is determined to find Charlie, and that he is no longer afraid of these strange creatures.
Jim and Charlie are finally reunited. Charlie is safe, and the boys are happy to see each other. Is the mystery over?
Which line from the text shows that Charlie has changed?
Chapter 15 - Orange Toilet Plungers
In 2-3- sentences, explain how the aliens get the children to stay on their planet. Use evidence from the text to support your assertion.
Jim and Charlie are main characters in this book. Watch this video about protagonists and antagonists to determine which of the two boys is the protagonist. (This annotation contains a video)
Which line from the text proves that the aliens are the antagonists in this story?
The story has shifted back toward adventure by presenting a chase scene. How do you think the story will end?
Consider what the spider-monkey aliens say and do. How do these villains compare to villains in other science-fiction thrillers?
These aliens act almost like children. This is what a spider-monkey looks like in real life. Why do you think the author chose this animal to represent the physical form of the aliens? (This annotation contains an image)
The description of this setting adds to the galactic feel of this part of the story. Notice other aspects of the setting the author chose to include. (This annotation contains an image)
According to what he says and does, what can we infer about Vantresillion?
Chapter 16 - The Big Knobbly Stick
Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable rocket launcher weapon. It is very dangerous and causes a lot of destruction. (This annotation contains an image)
The fact that Jim can see sunlight shows that
Which line from the text shows that the story has come full circle and a resolution is approaching?
The author has intentionally made Jim open up to his sister and his friend. This is a sentimental moment. Notice how it makes you feel.
The author most likely including this paragraph to insert _______ into the story.
Petrol is gasoline that is highly flammable. Could this be what they need to finally vanquish Vantresillion? (This annotation contains an image)
Science-fiction often has elements of revenge. This occurs when a villain is plotting or when a villain is defeated. (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses this simile to
Chapter 17 - Individual Broccoli Tartlets
Wine glasses are a symbol of celebration. Why do you think the author chose to include this illustration in this chapter?
Consider how the characters acted toward each other before and how they are are acting toward each other now. In 2-3 sentences, tell what lesson they have learned.
Think about how their parents feel. How do you think they view the return of their children?
It makes sense that the kids would notice whether or not the police officers were wearing brass bracelets. Even though they are safe, they will always be cautious.
Chapter 18 - A Bunker Under the Brecon Beacons
Sitting and talking about their secret at sunset creates a calm mood. Based on the setting, the author is showing the reader that the kids are safe, and the conflict is over. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do the kids think they would end up in a "psychiatric hospital" if they told their secret?