Summer of the Gypsy Moths

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From Clementine author Sara Pennypacker, this is a poignant middle-grade novel about two foster children who must find a way to work together in order to survive.

Eleven-year-old Stella misses her (unreliable) mom, but she loves it at great-aunt Louise’s house. Louise lives on Cape Cod, where Stella hopes her mom will someday come and settle down. The only problem? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. The two girls live together but there’s no way they’ll ever be friends.

Then Louise suddenly passes away one morning—and Stella and Angel decide not to tell anyone. Now they have to depend on each other for survival. Now they are forced to trust each other with the biggest secret ever.

With great empathy and humor, Sara Pennypacker tells the story of two very different girls who unexpectedly become each other’s true family.

Curriculet Details
93 Questions
94 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining theme, characterization and author's purpose. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about inference and literary devices. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of citing textual evidence, summarizing, and diction. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? 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. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?  
"They cost an arm and a leg" is an idiom. words. An idiom is an expression which is not interpreted literally. Idioms mean something quite different from what the individual words of the phrase imply. The phrase 'costs an arm and a leg' is used to describe something expensive.  
Use the Define feature to read the definition of the word trouper. Choose the definition below that correctly fits the context of the sentence. 
Stella wants Louise to believe that her mother is genuinely good. She tells her good things about her and leaves out the things that are not good. Who do you think knows more about Stella's mother, Stella or Louise? 
What do Louise and Stella's mother mean when they say "Too much water under that bridge?" What does that saying tell you about the relationship between Stella's mother and aunt Louise? 

Chapter 2

When Stella is around Angel, she thinks about icebergs. She has to remain cool, "silent and steady" with her temper. Otherwise, she and Angel would most likely fight a lot. As you continue to read, notice how Stella uses the iceberg image to deal with various people in her life. 
What does it mean when Louise refers to Stella and Angel as "oil and water?" 
Why does Stella think it would be good for her mother to "tie" herself to a place? 
How does Stella defend her mother's restlessness? 
Comparative adjectives are used to compare two objects. One syllable comparatives are formed by adding the suffix "-er." Comparatives with more than one syllable are formed by adding "more" before the adjective. Watch the video to learn more about comparative adjectives.  (This annotation contains a video)
Use the Define feature to read the definition of soap. Which of the definitions below correctly fits the context of the sentence? 
What emotion most likely causes Stella's skin to feel as if it is ringing? Fear? Anxiety? Hurt? 
What is meant by "if the past two years had been a movie, alarm bells would have been the soundtrack?" 

Chapter 3

Why does Stella think they should check for a pulse? 
"Boom" is an example of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeic words imitate the natural sound of a thing. It creates a sound effect that mimics the thing being described, making the description more expressive and interesting. Watch the video to learn more about onomatopoeia.  (This annotation contains a video)
Stella believes they have to call the police because _______________________. 
Memories are an example of flashback. Flashbacks are interruptions that writers use to insert past events in order to provide background or context to the current events of a narrative. By using flashbacks, writers allow their readers to gain insight into a character’s motivation and provide a background to a current conflict. Dream sequences and memories are methods used to present flashbacks. 
What can you infer is the reason Angel is packing? 
In literature, point of view is the mode of narration that an author uses to let the reader observe story. Watch the video and then answer the question below.  (This annotation contains a video)
From which point of view is this story written? 
Why does Angel ask Stella to wait ten minutes before she calls the police? 

Chapter 4

Does George Nickerson seem to be suspicious of what Stella and Angel tell him?  
Why does Stella lie to Mr. Nickerson about helping him with the cottages? 
What is the consequence for losing the key to a cottage? 
A 'mote' is a small particle or speck. Dust motes are small particles of dust which are sometimes visible through various forms of light.  
How does Stella know that bleach kills mold? 
"Prettiest" is a superlative adjective. Superlative adjectives compare three or more objects, people, or places. Using the superlative form takes a comparison to the highest degree possible. The rules for creating superlative adjectives are similar to those used when making comparative adjectives. Watch the video to learn more about superlative adjectives.  (This annotation contains a video)
What does George mean when he says "Broken things always have a story, don't they?" How does this comment apply to the characters in the story? 
George does not mind kids jumping on the beds in the cottages. Do you think Louise would feel the same way? Why or why not?  

Chapter 5

Why is it important to Stella that the cottages are all the same? 
George likes to talk and Stella likes to hear his stories. What do you suppose he is about to tell her? Do you think he will explain to her why all of the cottages are the same? 
The highlighted text is an example of __________________. 
What does Mr. Nickerson mean by "Your mother. Yeah. Now I see it?" Do you think he sees a resemblance to her mother in Stella? 
As you read, pay attention to Stella's need to find connections between people. What are some of the connections she finds? What are some of the connections she is missing? 
How are Stella's feelings toward Angel changing? 
Similes make a comparison between two objects using "like" or "as." The Mill River is compared to a silver ribbon because it is winding through the marsh. A simile is a literary device authors use to make their writing more descriptive and interesting. Watch the video.  (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the details in the highlighted text, what can you infer about Louise? 
Do you think Stella is mature enough to prove that she can keep this home? What evidence from the text helps you draw this conclusion? 
How does Stella feel at the end of this chapter? 

Chapter 6

Do you think Stella and Angel have any intention of calling the police? Or will they bury Louise in the garden and quietly cover up her death? 
Why is Stella unable to decide which piece of jewelry might have been special to Louise? 
"Longest" is an example of a ___________. 
Why does Stella not want to call the police? What will happen to her and Angel if she does call the police? 
Do you know someone like Angel who is difficult to get along with? What advice would you give Stella about how to deal with her? 
What does Stella like most about the "broken things" in the cottage? 

Chapter 7

Do you think George suspects something is terribly wrong with Louise? Why do you think he is hanging around? 
Use the Define feature to read the definition of fertilizer. Based on the definition, why does a gardner add fertilizer to the soil? 
What can you infer is the reason Stella kicks Angel in the ankle? Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
Why do you think Stella finds it hard to believe that Treb was a stray? 
A jetty is a structure of wood or stone extending into the sea to influence the current or tide.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Angel not want to look at the ocean? 

Chapter 8

Scurvy is a disease caused by insufficient intake of vitamin C leading to the formation of livid spots on the skin, spongy gums, loosening of the teeth and bleeding into the skin. 
Why does Stella strongly insist that Angel NOT open the package of coffee cakes? 
Why is Treb scratching at the door to get inside the house? 
Theme is defined as a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly. Watch the video. As you read, try to identify the theme of the story.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is meant by this expression? 
What is Angel's solution for getting rid of George? 

Chapter 9

Why do you think Stella wants to believe this is what Louise would want? 
Explain how Stella and Angel will use the "magic carpet." 
Stella wants Angel to say something about Louise. At funerals, people usually say something good about the deceased person. This is known as a eulogy.  
Why can Angel not think of anything to say about Louise? 
What does Stella suspect will happen to Louise's blueberry bushes? 
Do you recall what "dumb thing" Stella said to Angel? 

Chapter 10

Why does Angel tell Stella they need to learn how to drive? 
Why does Stella ask Angel if she heard anything during the night? 
Why do you suppose Stella decides to keep the postcard from her mother? 
What is Stella's reaction to realizing that Louise was getting money for her too?  
How are Stella and Angel able to avoid people? 
Why do you think Stella notices the "normal house sounds" at night now that Louise is gone? 
Quiz 1 

Chapter 11

What do the details in the text reveal about Stella? 
Stella's memory is an example of flashback. Watch the short video to learn more about why authors use flashback. (This annotation contains a video)
In what way does Stella think she is different from the girls on the beach? 
How does Stella feel about thinking everyone is "tied together by their secret-hiding?" What does this detail reveal about her need for making connections between people? 

Chapter 12

Why does Stella expect the phone call to be from her mother? 
Why does George suspect something is wrong with Stella? 
The emptiness that Stella feels is not in her stomach, it is in her ______________. 

Chapter 13

Cape Cod is a cape jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean in the easternmost portion of Massachusetts. Its historic character and plentiful beaches attract many tourists during the summer months.  (This annotation contains an image)
Stella's days are filled with ___________. 
What do you suppose is causing the blueberry bushes to get worse? Do you recall George Nickerson's warning about the blueberry bushes earlier in the story? 
What is meant by the clammers "spinning their strands?" How does this relate to making connections? 
Why do you think Angel will talk to Louise but not to Stella? 

Chapter 14

This detail suggests that ___________. 
Why do Stella and Angel feel overexposed? 
Identify and name two examples of simile in this paragraph. 
What can you infer is the reason Ms. Richardson thinks of Stella? 
Using context clues, what is the most likely definition of doling? 
Why does Stella call this a "low point?" 

Chapter 15

Based on her reaction, what do you think Stella discovers in the refrigerator? 
"Querido" is a Spanish word that means 'darling' or 'sweetheart.' The word is only used for someone you truly love or adore. 
Why is Stella forgiving when it comes to Angel's lack of knowledge for cleaning? 
Why do you think Angel's fists are balled up? 
What does Stella mean by "developing an eye" for cleaning? 
What affect does cleaning have on Stella? 

Chapter 16

Which literary device is used in this sentence? 
Do you think Stella will volunteer to babysit or recommend someone else? 
What does Stella notice about the music coming from upstairs? 
Gypsy moths are one of North America's most devastating forest pests. The gypsy moth is known to feed on the foliage of hundreds of species of plants in North America but its most common hosts are oaks and aspen. Below is an image of a gypsy moth. (This annotation contains an image)
Gypsy moth in caterpillar stage  (This annotation contains an image)
Earlier, George said "Most years they're just a nuisance. Every once in a while though, they're a plague." What is the difference between a nuisance and a plague? Why would it be difficult for one girl to stop a plague? 
Use the Define feature to read the definition of forlorn. Which of the following is an antonym (word with opposite meaning) for forlorn? 
Parallelism (or parallel structure) is the use of components in a sentence that are grammatically the same or similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter. In this sentence, the adjectives "sweaty and dirty and greasy" create parallel structure in the sentence. Watch the video to learn more about parallelism.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Angel "set the stage" to convince George that Louise has a boyfriend? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer. 

Chapter 17

Based on his reaction, how do you think George feels to hear Louise has a boyfriend? 
What is Stella sending to Heloise? 

Chapter 18

Do you recall what Stella means by a sleep "fingerprint?" 
Adjectives are "describing words." They are used to describe nouns. Adjectives are some of the most common words in the English language. With adjectives, you can effectively describe your surroundings in detail. Notice how adjectives are used to describe the lights in the bedroom and the smell of the air. Watch the video to learn more about adjectives.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Angel not hear the gypsy moths chewing at night? 
Watch the video of Portuguese fado singer, Cristina Branco. How does this type of music make you feel?  (This annotation contains a video)
Life Cycle of the Gypsy Moth  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Stella mean by her "skin crawled all night?" 

Chapter 19

Why does Mrs. Sandpiper give Stella a ten dollar bonus? 
Why do you think Stella and Angel decide to spend the Fourth of July with Louise? 
Why does Stella think it is important for Angel to know how to do her own laundry? 
How do Stella and Angel spend their Fourth of July holiday? 
What does "independence" mean to Stella and to Angel? 

Chapter 20

What evidence from the text reveals that Stella is happy she has saved her blueberry bushes? 
How does Stella feel when she realizes her blueberry bushes are getting better? 
Why does Stella and Angel's pizza order get larger? 
Why does Stella like to babysit for the vacationers? 
Quiz 2 

Chapter 21

What is a "changeover?" 
How is Stella and Angel's friendship changing? 
Based on George's comment, we can infer that ___________________. 
Do you think Louise ever told Stella she was glad to have her around? 
What is the reason George does not have an extra survival suit in his boat? 
Do you think the girls will feel differently about living in the house now that they know it does not belong to Louise? 

Chapter 22

Why does Stella give Angel her share of the money? 
Do you think Stella will finish what she started telling George about Louise? 
Use the Define feature to read the definition of elated. Which of the following is a synonym (word with similar meaning) for elated? 
How does Stella convince Angel to stay a little longer? 
Who do you think Stella wants George to hire to replace Louise? 
Which of the following items should Stella NOT wear when she mows the lawn? 
Can you identify this literary device? 
What does Stella learn about her father from the conversation between her mother and Silver Nails? 

Chapter 23

How has Stella and Angel's relationship changed throughout the story? What can you infer has caused that change? 
What does Stella's reaction about driving to get the pizza reveal about Stella? 
Stella is beginning to blabber. This means she feels __________________. 
What do you think "clammer boy" means by the wrong clams? 
Why is it important for Stella to make the birds fly like Angel does? 
Why do you think the author emphasizes the word "talking" in this sentence? 

Chapter 24

A hyperbole is a figure of speech which is an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis. Watch the video for more examples of hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Stella's heart catch when she sees the brand-new copy of Heloise from A to Z? 
Why does Stella panic when she can not find her Hints of Heloise folder? 
Why does Stella check the hints in the folder? What might she have done if some of the hints were missing? 

Chapter 25

What do the birds at the beach and the cottages have in common? Cite textual evidence to support your answer. 
How are Stella and Angel different? Do you think this is why Louise said they are like "oil and water?" 
The highlighted text is an example of _________. 
How is the storm personified in this sentence? What human quality is given to the storm? 
In what ways does Angel try to make Stella's birthday special? 
Why do you think Angel acts tough, like she doesn't care? What things have happened in her life that would cause her to act this way? 
What does George know about Louise that makes him realize it isn't like her to not have the papers filled out yet? 
Why is Angel practicing Louise's handwriting? 

Chapter 26

What does this detail reveal about the blueberry bushes? 
Why do you think it is important to Stella that George meets her mother?  
How might Angel feel knowing that Stella appreciates the birthday cake she made for her? 
Have you ever had to make a decision that affected other people not just yourself?  
Why does Stella want George to meet her mother in person? 
What realization does Stella make about the gypsy moths? How does this realization relate to her and Angel? 
Use the Define feature to read the definition of phosphorescent. Which of the following is a synonym (word with similar meaning) for phosphorescent? 
Below is an image of a man surrounded by phosphorescent plankton.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 27

How is Katie's mother different from Stella's mother? Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
Do you think Stella's mother has any intention of taking the classes and getting a job? Why or why not? 
Why does Stella want to tell Angel the story of the broken sand dollar? 
Who interrupts Stella's broken sand dollar story? 
Based on details from the text, which word BEST describes Stella's mother? 
This detail reveals that Stella likes stability. She longs for it in her life. Her grandmother's house was stable. Louise's house is stable. If her mother comes back to live in Louise's house, do you suppose Stella's life will be stable? 

Chapter 28

What role do sirens play in Stella's memory?  
Mood is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. Explain how this text makes you feel? 
Have you ever been involved in a scary situation and needed a reassuring hug from someone? Do you think Stella knows that somehow everything is going to be alright? 
This detail suggests that _____________. 

Chapter 29

What do the details in the text reveal about Angel? 
How does Stella know what to do to make the coffee taste better? Is this type of knowledge typical for a twelve year old girl? 
What events in Stella's life have made her feel abandoned? 
Do you think Stella and Angel agree that they have made some bad decisions? 
What do you think George may offer Angel's aunt? 
How do you think Angel feels about George's offer? 
How does Stella feel about calling the authorities about her mother? 
Do you think Stella and Angel will remain friends? 

Chapter 30

Do you agree with the pastor that life is a gift? 
George's memory of Louise is an example of ________________. 
Why is Stella happy to see that nothing has changed at Louise's cottage? 
In what way is Angel's aunt like Louise? 
Why does Angel cover the blueberries with onion bags? 
What do you think George wants to say to Stella? 
Why does George decide to take Stella in when he moves back to his house? 
Why does George think Stella would want the photo of her grandmother and Louise? 
Quiz 3 

About the Author

Sara Pennypacker  (This annotation contains an image)
Go to to check out more of her books.  (This annotation contains a link)