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Palmer LaRue is running out of birthdays. For as long as he can remember, he's dreaded the day he turns ten -- the day he'll take his place beside all the other ten-year-old boys in town, the day he'll be a wringer. But Palmer doesn't want to be a wringer. It's one of the first things he learned about himself and it's one of the biggest things he has to hide. In Palmer's town being a wringer is an honor, a tradition passed down from father to son. Palmer can't stop himself from being a wringer just like he can't stop himself from growing one year older, just like he can't stand up to a whole town -- right? Newbery Medal winner Jerry Spinelli's most powerful novel yet is a gripping tale of how one boy learns how not to be afraid.

Curriculet Details
79 Questions
76 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining grammar, literary devices and comprehension strategies. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about personification and imagery. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of citing textual evidence, comparing characters, and determining central ideas. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Waymer is the setting of the story, which is located in a rural community away from the city.  
Where are the approximate 5,000 pigeons needed for Pigeon Day acquired from? 

Chapter 01

What is 'this thing' that is bothering him? 
Here is a picture of a pigeon. Notice how the text accurately describes the eye of the pigeon. (This annotation contains a link)

Chapter 02

Why does Palmer have to fight back tears of relief and joy? 
The gifts the boys give Palmer are 'wrapped in newspaper, sloppily fitted and closed with black tape' because ________. 
Notice the contrast between the gifts Palmer receives from his friends and the gifts he receives from his mother. 
Why does Palmer consider himself to be "blessed" on this day? 

Chapter 03

Beans is definitely the "boss" of the group. Notice how he leads the group and the other boys easily follow him. 

Chapter 04

Why do you think Palmer hates the park? Keep that question in mind as you continue to read.  
What event do the boys demonstrate on the soccer field? 

Chapter 05

What do the details in this section of text reveal about Palmer? 
The boys show disrespect to the lady by honking their noses and remarking, "Ehh, yer old man!" Palmer imitated the other three boys. His back was to the lady when he did though. This detail reveals that Palmer wants to fit in with the guys, but he knows he should not do it. Therefore, he turns so she can't see him. 
What event marks the time when a boy receives The Treatment? 
Picture the scene. Beans and Mutto cheer Farquar on as he hits Palmer's left arm. With each hit, Palmer experiences more pain, but he manages to endure it and suffer through The Treatment. 
What does Palmer learn 'from the street' about The Treatment? 

Chapter 06

How does Palmer feel after talking with his father about The Treatment? 
There is a contrast between the way Palmer's mother feels about him receiving The Treatment and the way his father feels about it. Why do his parents have differing views? 
Based on textual evidence, we can infer that Palmer's mother 
What does the detail of Palmer's father passing his toy soldiers down to his son reveal about how they feel about traditions? How does this relate to the tradition of being a wringer? 
Palmer experiences a wonderful day. Pay attention to how important it is for him to "fit in" with these new friends. Have you ever felt like Palmer? Have you ever wanted to "fit in" with a certain group of friends? If so, you can imagine how Palmer feels right now. 

Chapter 07

Dorothy is ignoring Palmer because  
One definition of befuddled is confused or perplexed. Her behavior confuses Palmer. He doesn't understand her. 
Do you remember what happens during the first week of August? A week long festival, Family Fest, with amusement rides and pie-eating contests. Pigeon Day takes place on Saturday at the end of Family Fest week. Pigeon Day is the dreaded "thing" that seems to haunt Palmer more than anything. A week of fun activities ends with one of the worst events Palmer has ever experienced in his life. 

Chapter 08

Based on details in the text, Family Fest seems  
Here Palmer describes an occurrence that happened on Pigeon Day. Based on the details, we can infer that Palmer does not like for the pigeons to be killed this way.  
Why does Palmer have such a misguided idea of why pigeons are killed on Pigeon Day? 
Boys becoming wringers at ten years old is a tradition, or custom, for the people in this community. It almost seems like a "rite of passage" to become a wringer. 

Chapter 09

How does Dorothy feel about Pigeon Day? 
Based on Dorothy's reaction and Palmer crying, we can infer that neither of the characters like what takes place on Pigeon Day. Although Palmer seems to describe the events to Dorothy with no emotion, he still believes that pigeons are killed to be put out of their misery. 

Chapter 10

What is Beans' real name? 
This is the first encounter Palmer has with Arthur Dodds (aka Beans). Arthur seems mean-spirited. He makes fun of Palmer's name, calls him a sissy, and causes him to fall out of the swing.  
Think about how smells remind us of certain things. The smell of sweet flowers may remind you of Spring. The smell of hot dogs may remind you of a baseball game. Here, Palmer describes the smell of the 'gray and sour odor of gunsmoke'. This smell reminds him of Pigeon Day. A day he does not like at all.  
According to Palmer, the smell of gunsmoke  
Palmer tells us how the the boys became friends. Even at the age of six, he wanted to be friends with them. 
How does Palmer feel about pigeons? Cite textual evidence to answer the question. 
In the text, a sliding board is the term used for a slide. In some regions of the country, people have different dialects. Depending on your dialect, you may say sliding board or slide. However, they both mean the same thing. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Palmer mean when he says, "Time became a sliding board, at the bottom of which awaited his tenth birthday." 

Chapter 11

In the previous chapters, Palmer tells us about when he was younger and his first experience with Pigeon Day. Now in this chapter, he is nine years old. He had his ninth birthday about a month ago. He describes Family Fest and his dread as the end of the week approaches and Pigeon Day draws near. 
Why does Palmer go to sleep with a smile on his face? 

Chapter 12

In Palmer's dream, the pigeon he dreamed was pecking him was actually Beans and Mutto trying to wake him up. 
What kind of kid is Palmer? 
What is the simile in this sentence? 
Notice the contrast between Palmer and the other two boys. Beans and Mutto have no feelings for the pigeons, while Palmer does.  
Do you think Palmer's mother really thought he was sick or did she know that he did not want to go to the park for Pigeon Day? 
Epigraph Quiz 

Homework #18

Why does Palmer's father tell him to put his sled away? 
Why do you think the imprints of bird feet caught Palmer's attention? Think about that as you continue to read. 
Palmer thought the tapping sound was 

Homework #19

Why does Palmer say the pigeon is stupid? 
Palmer describes how he feels about the guys' reaction to seeing him. Palmer seems to fit in with the group of boys well and this makes him feel good. 
Cite textual evidence to explain why Palmer does not spend time with Dorothy. 

Homework #20

Visualize Palmer as he begs the pigeon to leave. He knows that if anyone finds out he has a pigeon at his house, things will not be good for him or the pigeon. 
What does Palmer believe is the reason the pigeon is coming to his window? 
What do you think will happen if Palmer feeds the pigeon? 
An image of a pigeon similar to the one visiting Palmer. (This annotation contains an image)
Palmer is in a dilemma here. He knows the pigeon should not be at his house, yet he really wants it to stay around.  

Homework #21

The definition of pudgy is fat, overweight, plump, or chubby. 
What can you infer about the pudgy pigeon? 
Does Palmer's mom suspect the real reason he wants her to knock before entering his room? 
Pay attention to how Palmer feels about having another sleeper in his room. He is happy. What does the fact that he did not turn on his nightlight reveal about him? 

Homework #22

Based on details from the text, why does Palmer take the pigeon book from the library secretly? 
Palmer learns some valuable information about pigeons from a library book that might have looked similar to this one. Do you think this information will help him care for the pigeon that visits him? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Palmer name his pigeon Nipper? 
One definition of routine is a set of normal procedures. Think about how Nipper has changed Palmer's daily routine. Have you ever gotten a new pet? How did your new pet change your routine? 

Homework #23

What chores does Palmer tell his mother he will do? 
This detail is important. Keep this in mind as you continue to read.  

Homework #24

Why does Palmer use Dorothy as a diversion to keep the other boys from coming to his house? 
Do you think Palmer has ever been to Beans's house? 

Homework #25

Why does Palmer expect Beans to live in a dirty house? 
Below is an image of a muskrat. Muskrats are similar to house rats, just bigger.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is Mrs. Gruzik's reaction to Beans's prank? 

Homework #26

What are your thoughts at this point? Do you think the pigeon Mutto saw is Palmer's pigeon? 
What causes Palmer to break down and cry when he enters his bedroom?  List several reasons. 

Homework #27

What does Dorothy do that aggravates the boys so much? 
What does it mean to "treestump" someone? Read carefully to find out. 
What part do Mutto, Henry, and Palmer play in this after-school show with Beans and Dorothy? 
Why did Dorothy speak to Palmer instead of Beans? Pay attention as you read to pick up on details that answer this question. 
How does Palmer feel about Nipper not returning to his house? 
Why do you think Palmer feels that his secret has to be shared? Who do you think he will share it with? 
Nipper Quiz 

Homework #29

Raucous means harsh and rough- sounding; disorderly and boisterous; loud and annoying.  
What does this detail reveal about Beans? 

Homework #30

What is Dorothy's reason for being at Palmer's house? 
Notice the contrast between how Palmer's mother feels about his guy friends and the way she feels about Dorothy. His mother doesn't want the boys in her house and yet she welcomes Dorothy in like she is her own daughter. 
Why does Palmer ask Dorothy about her view of his dad? 
Pay attention to what the "golden bird" represents to Palmer. The statue of the bird is a trophy, representing a victory, to his father. In contrast, Palmer sees the statue as something bad and wonders how someone who is nice could be proud of it. 
Palmer compares his feelings to floating and relates it to learning to float in the pool. He learned to trust the water in the pool. Now, with Dorothy, he feels the same trust. He can "let go" of feelings he has and trust that she will keep it safe between them. 
Why does Palmer think something is wrong with him? 
This detail reveals why Palmer feels the way he does about the "golden bird." 

Homework #31

Why might this incident pose a problem for Palmer? How do you think he will handle it? 
Try to imagine how Palmer feels. He knows he has to deny the fact that the pigeon belongs to him. There is just no other way. He can't let the Beans boys know his secret. 
 What does Palmer's reaction reveal about him? 

Homework #32

Palmer definitely has a dilemma and he wants Dorothy to be more helpful during his time of trouble. 
Why does Palmer wear different clothing to school instead of his usual attire? 
Why does Palmer add "five nevers plus an ever" to what the teacher told him to write? 
What does Palmer's teacher mean when she says, "Palmer, you write like a snail"?  Is this an example of a similie or metaphor? 
As Palmer dresses to go home, his teacher is shocked to see him put on so much winter clothing. Keep in mind, that it is now May and the weather is warmer. This is probably the reason for her reaction. Also, remember Palmer's reason for dressing this way. 

Homework #33

Pay attention to the progression of time here. Palmer tells us he survived the last month of school but it wasn't without problems. On the next several pages, he tells us about those last weeks of school and how he got through it. 
Citing textual evidence, list some of the things Palmer did to purposefully get into trouble. 
Palmer's popularity makes him famous with kids in his school. Yet, it does not reveal who he really is. He does not want the popularity. In fact, he says, " I want to be invisible." What has led Palmer to act out in ways that are completely different to his true self?  
How do you think everyone will react to Palmer's plan to disguise himself on the last day of school? 
Why does Dorothy think Palmer is a hero? 
Was this the reaction you predicted earlier?  

Homework #34

Based on Beans' persistent nature, we can infer that 
Again, notice how Palmer is placed in a difficult situation. He continues to pretend he does not like pigeons just so he will fit in with his friends. 
Why does the wringmaster wear a neon pink baseball cap? 
Beginning here the wringmaster trains the young boys on what to do on Pigeon Day. As you read, visualize the steps, or process, of how the boys are to wring pigeons. 
The wringmaster describes the procedure for collecting the pigeons. He explains how each wringer has a job to do. He wants them to understand this is not a kiddy game.  
Based on the text, what day will Pigeon Day be held? 
Look at the highlighted text. Palmer throws the stuffed sock on the ground. What does this suggest about how he feels about participating in the wringing exercise? 

Homework #35

What advice does Dorothy give to Palmer? 
A synonym for impish is mischievous. Do you think Dorothy will tell Palmer's friends about Nipper even though he does not want her to? 
According to this detail, we can infer that 

Homework #36

Why does Palmer's mother go shopping instead of attending his birthday party? 
How do you think Palmer feels when his dad says he doesn't hate pigeons? Do you think this will change Palmer's attitude toward Pigeon Day? 

Homework #37

Henry is described here as being different from Beans and Mutto in a good way. However, Henry hangs out with the boys and does the same things they do. It seems like Henry wants to fit in with the boys as much as Palmer does.  
What makes Henry different from Beans and Mutto? 
What does this sentence mean? 
Palmer knows the boys have been to his house. Do you think he can relax now? 

Homework #38

Using the word "captive" to describe Henry suggests that he is 
This is a significant detail. Palmer realizes that Henry tried to warn him about the guys coming to his house. He also realizes that he and Henry have some similarities. Palmer does not want to be like Henry and become a captive to Beans. 
Can you believe Palmer said "no" to Farquar? What kind of consequences do you think he will face for his action? Let's continue reading to find out. 
What does Palmer's response to them reveal about himself? 

Homework #39

As you read visualize the events as they unfold. Pay attention to details like Palmer's breathing and how he plans to get home. Imagine yourself in his situation. Would you react the same way? Or would you do things differently? 
Based on his actions this morning, the Beans boys know that 
Palmer has faced many challenges up to this point and most of them have been due to him 
How would you feel if you were Palmer knowing you must let your pet go? 

Homework #40

According to this detail Palmer and Dorothy 
Remember the book about pigeons Palmer took from the library? Do you think he learned these facts from the book? 

Homework #41

What causes Dorothy to laugh? 
Confess means to admit or state that one has committed a crime or is at fault in some way. 
What does this detail reveal about Palmer's dad? 
Do you think Palmer is relieved that he told his mom everything? 

Homework #42

Again, Palmer notices how Henry is different from Beans and Mutto even though he is part of their gang. 
Palmer thanks Henry for 

Homework #43

This is an example of a/an 
Why might Palmer and Dorothy act this way toward each other?  
What does Palmer imagine he is holding in his hands? 

Homework #44

Smells have the power to bring memories to our mind. Throughout the story, the 'gray, sour odor of gunsmoke' reminds Palmer of the most dreaded time of year. 
How does releasing Nipper help Palmer? Cite textual evidence to support your answer. 
Palmer's father communicates love to him in various ways. Through body language, not words that he speaks, Palmer realizes how much his dad loves him. Palmer understands and feels it in his heart, the 'warm and waiting perch far below his ears.' 
Palmer's father probably bypasses the shooting gallery because 

Homework #45

Pay attention to details as you read. Create mental images of what it must feel like to attend Pigeon Day. 
How are the waiting shooters alike?  How are they different? 
How do you think Palmer feels having Dorothy here with him on Pigeon Day?  
What does the fact that Beans wrings a pigeon's neck in front of Palmer's and Dorothy's face reveal about his character? 
Why is Palmer upset with Dorothy for releasing Nipper at the railroad yards? 
Make a prediction. Do you think Nipper is here at the park on Pigeon Day? If so, do you think Palmer and Nipper will recognize one another? 

Homework #46

In this section of text, Palmer imagines what might happen to Nipper. 
This detail suggests that 
The shooter is disqualified because he shoots a frisbee. This could be a game they play with the shooters to see if they can tell the difference between a pigeon and a frisbee. 
What does the little boy seem to be looking forward to? 
A 'miracle bird' is 
Palmer fears that Nipper will recognize him, fly down to him, and get shot by one of the shooters. 
At this moment how does Palmer feel? 
Featherfall Quiz 

Reader’s Guide

This could be a newspaper article from the town's newspaper describing the events of Pigeon Day. How do you think Palmer feels about what happened on Pigeon Day?