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Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett's Dodger, a Printz Honor Book, combines high comedy with deep wisdom in a tale of one remarkable boy's rise in a fantasy-infused Victorian London.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger is content as a sewer scavenger. But he enters a new world when he rescues a young girl from a beating, and her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger's encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd, to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Curriculet Details
69 Questions
79 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for middle school students contains interactive videos exploring metaphor and conflict, as well as annotations describing symbolism, Charles Dickens, and Victorian history. Students will explore the themes of violence and social inequality. The Common Core aligned questions, answers, and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter One

What kind of figurative langauge does Pratchett use to describe the rain and it's effects on the city?  
Dodger is set in Victorian London. This novel can be considered a work of historical fiction, meaning that it is set in a specific time and location in history, although the author Terry Pratchett refers to it as historical fantasy because of the unrealistic elements present. For more clarification on the setting and some of the real historical people that Dodger will meet, read the Author's Note at the end of the novel. (This annotation contains an image)
This character is Charles Dickens, one of the most notable authors of the nineteenth century. (This annotation contains an image)
This character is Henry Mayhew, a writer and advocate of social reform. Pratchett dedicated this book to him. Henry Mayhew was most interested in the lives of the poor, which is a major theme in the novel. (This annotation contains an image)
Dodger is a slang word for an evasive, shifty, or deceptive person. Based on what you know of the character of Dodger so far, how accurate do you think the name is? Cite examples from the text. 
Sir Galahad was one of the knights of King Arthur's round table.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Dodger dislike Charlie? 
Charlie's character is using verbal irony in this sentence describing Dodger as an academic after learning how much the boy can read. Look for more examples of verbal irony from Charlie as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
The Morning Chronicle was a London newspaper that Charles Dickens was a reporter for as a young man. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Charlie's request of Dodger? 
A tosher is someone who scavenges the sewers for valuables in Victorian London.  (This annotation contains an image)
Phizog is slang for face. 
How do you think it makes Dodger feel to be treated this way by the housekeeper? Has there ever been a time when you felt misunderstood like Dodger? 
Several times throughout the text, Dickens will make a note of something in the presence of Dodger that will later make it's way into one of his famous novels. 
Argos Panoptes was a giant from Greek mythology with a hundred eyes. (This annotation contains an image)
Happy Families is a card game played in the UK similar to Go Fish. (This annotation contains an image)
Saying that Mrs. Sharples's eye is like a compass needle is an example of 

Chapter Two

Both Dodger and Charlie have spoken quite a bit about being able to read and see through people. How do you think this skill is useful to Dodger in his life on the streets?  
A scullery is a small room off the kitchen primary used for washing dishes and laundry. (This annotation contains an image)
The cook thinks that Dodger is 
The Romans built the original sewer system in London, which by the 1800s was in very poor shape. Some vestiges of the ancient Roman system still remain in England, such as this drain in the city of Bath. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Dodger think of people who work regular jobs? 
Grandad says that he and Dodger find value in what was thrown away-- both objects and people. How do you think the idea of people who have been thrown away relates to the theme of the story? 
The custom of putting coins on the eyes of the dead dates back to Greek mythology. It ensured that the dead would be able to pay the boatman who would give them passage from the land of the living to Hades, the underworld. 

Chapter Three

Solomon's namesake is King Solomon, an ancient Hebrew king who is remembered in the Bible as being one of the wisest and yet most foolish men to live. (This annotation contains an image)
Solomon's "Mmm" is an example of 
A shonky shop would sell things of poor quality. 
Dodger saving Solomon is the second example of his saving someone who is being beaten thus far in the novel. How do you think this clashes with the views that other people, like the housekeeper, have of Dodger? 
The Thames is the longest river in England. It flows through London, Oxford, and Windsor.  (This annotation contains an image)
Does this mean that Dodger's personality is 
Queen Victoria ruled the United Kingdom, Great Britian, and Ireland from 1837-1876. (This annotation contains an image)
Solomon's problem with the card game is 
What is Solomon's point about the importance of the games that one plays? How does this idea affect Dodger? 
A mudlark is someone who scavenges the mud on the river banks for lost valuables, similar to what a tosher does in the sewer. (This annotation contains an image)
Dodger is beginning to have an internal conflict about his lifestyle. Watch the video below to learn more about what internal conflict means. (This annotation contains a video)
Dodger thinks that Messy Bessie is 
This means that it was a fancy and expensive carriage. 
Fleet Street is one of the most famous streets in London. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Four

Who are the monsters on Fleet Street? 
An example of an antique paper spike. (This annotation contains an image)
Who is the most scared person in the room? 
Why would Dodger having his name in the paper for help in catching a thief be bad for the boy's reputation? 
Sir Robert Peel was a statesman and Prime Minister of the UK. He is most famous for creating the modern police force. (This annotation contains an image)
Before becoming a tosher, Dodger 

Chapter Five

A lathe is a machine used for shaping wood or metal. (This annotation contains an image)
In this paragraph Dodger is 
An urchin was a child who lives in the slums and makes their living off of the streets. Below is a portrait of some Victorian street urchins. (This annotation contains an image)
This means Dodger is being 
One of Henry Mayhew's books in which a person like Dodger would have appeared.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Dodger describe the sewers as being like to Mr. Mayhew? 
Baths were a rarity for anyone outside the upper classes at the times. There was no running water, so water had to be heated over the stove and poured into a basin. Most people would wash up daily, and the wealthy would take a bath once a week.  
Incongruous is something that is out of harmony with it's surroundings. 
Dodger begins to believe that Simplicity 
Mrs. Mayhew means that they will be acting as Simplicity's parents. 
Dodger Quiz #1 

Chapter Six

Dodger thinks that 
Punch and Judy was a popular puppet show in England. It featured the antics of the violent Mr. Punch and his wife Judy. (This annotation contains an image)
Froggy is slang for a French person in the UK. 
Why do you think Marie Jo is taken aback by Dodger? 
"Every sound left its dying ghost" is an example of 
This sentence is a simile because of the word "like." (This annotation contains a video)
How do you think Sharp Bob is feeling right now? 
As mentioned earlier, Sir Robert Peel was the founder of the modern police force. His officers were called "peelers" and, unlike previous officers, were not corrupt or able to be bribed. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Seven

The hairy young man Solomon hid from the Cossacks with was Karl Marx, a German economist, philosopher and socialist. Marx is most famous for writing The Communist Manifesto.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who is watching Dodger? 
Schmutter was slang for clothing. Solomon wants Dodger dressed appropriately for his walk with Simplicity. 
Sweeney Todd is a fictional caracter known as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. There have been several claims that the murderous barber was based on real life people, but the tale is mostly thought of as a Victorian legend. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Sweeney Todd's monologue about? 
Everyone (including Charlie) thinks that Sweeney Todd is a villain. Dodger is the only one who sticks up for Todd, saying, "He wasn't bad, he was mad, and sad, and lost in his 'ead." What do you think that this says about Dodger's character and the way that he looks at people?  
Punch magazine was founded in 1841 by Henry Mayhew. It contained satire and political cartoons. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Eight

How do you think that this statement relates to the theme of Dodger? What characters does it make you think of and why? Cite examples from the text. 
In this painting are examples of bonnets and shawls similar to what Simplicity would have been wearing. (This annotation contains an image)
"He saw the lips become a rose" is an example of 
A pasting is slang for a beating. 
When Dodger equates the truth to a fog, he means 
Dodger is saying the he rescued her because she couldn't defend herself. As when he saved Solomon, Dodger likes to come to the aid of the underdog. 

Chapter Nine

Dodger's exploits with Sweeney Todd have been _______________ as word spread through the city. 
Benjamin Disraeli was a Prime Minister and one of the creators of the Conservative Party. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is NOT part of Simplicity's story? 
Angela Burdett-Coutts was a Baroness and philanthropist. At one time she was the richest woman in England. (This annotation contains an image)
What are some of the political problems alluded to if Simplicity were to be allowed to stay in England? 
Boadicea was a Queen of a Celtic tribe who led an uprising against the Roman Empire.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Ten

Why does Dodger think that this coach is the one that Simplicity was in? 
In the Victorian era, the flower girls were poor girls who sold flowers on the street. (This annotation contains an image)
What point is Solomon making about people who society considers to be monsters? 
Where has Dodger met this man before? 
Dodger saying that Todd's razor talks to him is an example of 
Purlioned means to steal. These were the coins that Dodger had taken from the boxer. 

Chapter Eleven

Dodger thinks that the important thing is not being a hero, but that you  
What does the artist mean when he tells Dodger that the public is biased towards the macabre? 
A Turkish bath is similar to a steam bath or sauna, with a pool for bathing and relaxation areas. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think Solomon means when he says that sometimes God "appears to be looking the other way"? How does this relate to Simplicity's situation?  
This is another reference to Karl Marx. 
Solomon thinks that having money 
What does Solomon mean by "responsibilities are the anvil on which a man is forged"? 
By now you may have noticed a few references in the text to fog and "Charlie's fog." The fog is a symbol for a murky version of the truth, a truth that you can bend where you want it to go. Watch the video below to learn more about symbolism, and keep an eye out for the symbol of fog as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
This is a polite way of saying 
A pound was made up of twenty-one shillings, so this hat cost almost two pounds, which would have been almost two hundred dollars in today's money. It was quite an extravagant purchase for young Dodger! 
Dodger Quiz #2 

Chapter Twelve

Leicester Square (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Disraeli agree to go toshing with Dodger? 
A diplomatic ambassador of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Sir George Cayley is one of the most important men in the history of aeronautics. He was the first person to understand the principles of flight. (This annotation contains an image)
William Henson was an early pioneer in aeronautics. Below is a picture of his Aeronautic Steam Carriage.  (This annotation contains an image)
Ada Lovelace was a Countess, mathematician and writer. Due to her work with Babbage, she is knows as the first computer programmer. (This annotation contains an image)
Charles Babbage first came up with the concept for a computer. Here is a prototype of one of his Difference Engines.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Mayhew mean when he says that Dodger is climbing the ladder faster than a chimpanzee?  
A rascal, someone who is up to no good. 
Dick Turpin was a highway robber made famous after his execution for a fictional 200-mile overnight ride on his horse, Black Bess. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Dodger in awe of? 
This is likely like the toilet that Dodger saw. You pull the chain to flush. (This annotation contains an image)
In an earlier chapter, Dickens asks Dodger for his real name. When Dodger tells Dickens his name, Charlie asks him, "And what would you do if you had had a different name, Dodger? A name such as Master Geoffrey Smith, for example, or Master Jonathan Baxter?" Dodger replies that he probably would have been normal. Now that you know Dodger's given name, how do you think it effected his upbringing? 
Joseph Bazalgette was a civil engineer who modernized the London sewer system. (This annotation contains an image)
Cloacina was the goddess who presided over the "great drain" in Rome. She is the mythical Lady of the Toshers, whom Dodger and Grandad refer to. (This annotation contains an image)
What other character has also said that they don't like those who trample on others? 

Chapter Thirteen

"Solomon drank information of of a page" is an example of 
An embassy is the headquarters of a representative of a government on foreign soil.  
Why is this thought of Dodger's ironic? 
A dowry is the money and goods that a wife brings into a marriage. 
French for "look for the woman." 
Who is the old lady? 
A pauper's grave is where the state buries poor and unidentified people.  
What do you think Dodger is talking to Mrs. Holland about? 

Chapter Fourteen

Going to the theatre in Victorian London was big to do. Early in the Victorian era, when Dodger is set, the crowd would have been mostly aristocrats.  (This annotation contains an image)
Dodger's prayer is 
Although the Duke was much older than Coutts, she proposed to him and, after his death, called him the sunshine of her life. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think these words of Shakespeare's stood out so much to Dodger? 
The Twelfth Night was also a play by Shakespeare, but, unlike Romeo and Juliet, it was a comedy that did not end in tragedy for the lovers. 
What does Dodger think he needs penance for? 
Why did Dodger scratch the name Mr. Punch into the coach? 
This phrase is an idiom, which means that it's literal meaning is different from it's figurative meaning. Sir Robert is referring to Dodger's intelligence when he uses the word sharp, not to a knife. 

Chapter Fifteen

With this simile, Pratchett is trying to say that Bazalgette looked 
Salubrious means wholesome and healthy. This is not a regular sewer Dodger is taking them down! 
What did Simplicity find in the sewer? 
The Great Stink happened in London in the summer of 1858 and prompted the city to hire Bazalgette to modernize the sewers. Cholera was also rampant at the time, due to poor sanitation. Below is a political cartoon of the River Thames during this period.  (This annotation contains an image)
The Outlander turns out to be 
To turn to the darkness in prayer. 
What is the significance of the fog here? Hint: think back to what we learned about symbolism. 
Miasmic effusions would be a very unpleasant smell given off by something. Dodger is trying to blame the state of the sewer for the body not seeming fresh. 
How do you think Dodger's clever plan worked out? Did the appearance of The Outlander help or hinder the outcome? 
Higgledy-piggledy means that something looks strewn about in a messed up way. 

Chapter Sixteen

Based on what you know Pratchett uses the fog as a symbol for, what do you think this sentence means? 
Dodger is still having an internal conflict about his identity.  
Bucolic means related to the countryside. This is a slow, rural-sounding accent. 
What does the card game Happy Families serve as a symbol for? 
Escargot is a French delicacy served as an appetizer. The snails are usually cooked in a garlic butter and wine sauce with herbs. (This annotation contains an image)
Dodger explains that the animals, who would otherwise be natural enemies, are living happily together because 
Buckingham Palace if the official London home of the British Royal Family. (This annotation contains an image)
What are your thoughts on the Queen knowing of Solomon? Does this surprise you, knowing his varied past? 
In the Bible, Onan was killed by God for not having a child with his widowed sister-in-law. 
Dodger Quiz #3