The Jumping Tree: A Novel
These lively stories follow Rey Castaneda from sixth through eighth grade in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. One side of Rey's family lives nearby in Mexico, the other half in Texas, and Rey fits in on both sides of the border. In Nuevo Penitas, he enjoys fooling around with his pals in the barrio; at school, he's one of the "A list" kids. As Rey begins to cross the border from childhood into manhood, he turns from jokes and games to sense the meaning of work, love, poverty, and grief, and what it means to be a proud Chicano-moments that sometimes propel him to show feelings un hombre should never express. It's a new territory where Rey longs to follow the example his hardworking, loving father has set for him.
The curriculet is being added to your library
Chapter 1 - Shakety Shakes
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? (This annotation contains an image)
'Amá and 'Apá are the names for mother and father in Spanish.
Based on what you read in the text, why does the family move back to South Texas?
Before people were aware of the dangers of chemicals such as pesticides, it was not uncommon for people to live and work in close proximity to where the chemicals were being used. Typically, the people who were exposed to these chemicals were poor or migrant workers who did not have the resources to relocate to safer areas. (This annotation contains an image)
There are a lot of Spanish words in these two lines! As the novel continues, you will be able to use context clues to help determine the meanings of the words if you are unfamiliar with Spanish. Jefitos is another name for parents. Trabajos means work or job. Mero-mero is the word for the "top" or big dog. So Chuy's family is moving to find work in Minnesota, and Rey doesn't want to attend school without his best friend. (This annotation contains an image)
What does "like each other's shadow" mean as it is used in the highlighted sentence from text?
How can Rey tell that Chuy is not up to "kid stuff"?
A Gremlin is a type of car that was made from 1970-1978. You can tell from the photo it had a very distinctive look, and people either loved it or hated it! (This annotation contains an image)
Orale, vato means "man." You might say something similar when talking to your friends, such as "Dude, I can't." (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you read in the text, why is Rey reluctant to go in the back room of the store?
Chapter 2 - My Father, the Man
What is meant by "righteous anger" as it is used in the highlighted segment from the text?
This comment is very inappropriate, especially when it is used to describe someone of a different race. Authors often include details such as these to create real-to-life situations. In real life, terms and words like these should never be used. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this video that explains point of view and cultural perspective. After you watch it and continue reading this chapter, think about the different views that 'Apá and Rey might have about the incident between 'Apá and Tío Santos. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Apá's comment that he "did stand up to" Tío Santos contribute to the story?
Chapter 3 - Old Edwin and the Burglar Bars
Every region has its own style of architecture or building design. These designs are usually based on the building materials that are available in a particular area as well as the structural needs of a region. Houses with flat roofs are built in regions that do not have a lot of snow or rain that has to be shed by a pitched roof. (This annotation contains an image)
The soft spot on the top of a baby's head is called the fontanelle. It is the spot where the skull has not completely joined together in order to accommodate a rapidly growing brain. The skull will close together as the baby grows. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on evidence in the text, why is 'Apápacing at night?
Why does 'Amá tell Rey to "shhh"?
'Amá is asking herself, "What can I do?"
How do the other men of the barrio feel about Old Edwin?
Does your family celebrate good times by having barbecues and cookouts with friends and family? Although cultures differ in many ways, they also share many traits. Gathering and sharing food in celebration is found in many cultures. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 4 - La Quince
The Hispanic culture places much importance on the fifteenth birthday of girls. The fifteenth birthday celebration is called quinceanera. The quinceanera celebration traditionally begins with a religious ceremony. A reception is held in the home or a banquet hall. The festivities include food and music, and in most, a choreographed waltz or dance is performed by the young lady and her court. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the primary reason Rey is upset when the "fat guy" gets his name wrong?
The Spanish word for chicken is pollo not "ollo." That is why his family didn't understand Rey at first. (This annotation contains an image)
Do the women in your family like to plan things? Do they get together and discuss weddings, family reunions, and other events? (This annotation contains an image)
According to what you read in the text, why does Lety huff and stomp away?
Chapter 5 - Dog Eat Dog
Mange is a skin disease caused by parasites. It results in hair loss, itching, and the formation of scabs. It is mostly found in dogs. There are special shampoos and medicines that will cure mange. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rey mean when he says that "visits to the vet were unheard of"?
In the case of Rey's family, they may feel that they have no other choice but to "dump" the dog. However, animals should never be dumped or left to fend for themselves. There are animal control shelters that will take the animal for no charge, care for it, and try to find it a home. (This annotation contains an image)
'Apá says that Rey is "strong that way." Based on that statement, how does 'Apá see Rey?
When authors write, they try to create real-to-life situations. In order to do this, they sometimes use inappropriate terms and phrases. The word "wetbacks" is a racist term and should be never used in real life. It is offensive and racist. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this scene in which 'Apá discusses their heritage with Rey contribute to the structure of the book?
Chapter 6 - 'Buelito's Backyard
This translates to "there is an expensive car." In the barrio, an expensive car would be unusual to see! The boys are really just trying to distract one another during their race! (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rey mean when he tells Ricky "when you least expect it, expect it"?
Getting the wind knocked out of you refers to a kind of spasm that occurs when sudden force is applied to the abdomen. This puts pressure on the solar plexus. Usually this occurs when there has been a forceful blow to the abdomen. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why has Nardo buried the cans in the yard?
For many years, people had to rely on themselves for everything. Farm animals were not kept as pets. Instead, they were considered a source of food by which to keep the family fed. People had to be very resourceful and used every part of a butchered animal for something. Over time, some have changed their views about animals; however, survival without them as a food source would have been very difficult not many years ago. (This annotation contains an image)
From Rey's point of view, how could the character of Nardo be best described?
Chapter 7 - The Jumping Tree
Notice that the name of this chapter is the same as the title of the book. As you read this, think about why the book is named after this chapter. (This annotation contains an image)
Read the highlighted statement from Rey. What does this tell you about his view of his culture? Is it a culture with a lot of pride? (This annotation contains an image)
Think about the earlier scenes in this book in which Rey considers his 'Apá's work habits and his confrontation with Ricky over eating the lizard egg. How do those scenes combined with this jumping tree episode contribute to the development of the story?
Chapter 8 - La Lucha Libre
Have you ever used a technique like this to manipulate your parents into buying you something you really want, but don't need? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rey mean by "Christmas in July"?
Why does Rey think it will work if mentions that Javi can play with the monitos also?
Rey is at a very difficult age; it is an in-between stage in life. He's not expected to play with toys or do other childish things, but he is not old enough for the privileges that go with being a teen. Do you know how it feels to be in-between? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 9 - El Susto
In the days before electronics and video games, children played outside and would create theri own imaginatvie games. Playing "war" was a favorite of boys everywhere. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rey mean "it was a game of chicken"?
This may sound like a strange thing to tell children, but every culture has its own way. Have you ever heard someone say, "You will put your eye out with that"? Isn't that a similar warning-meant to frighten children into being safe? (This annotation contains an image)
Why can't Rey "think straight"?
Chapter 10 - Love and a Broken Heart
Do you think this relationship is odd, or do you think this is the way young people commonly act around one another? At your school, do you have socials or dances? Do the kids actually dance or stand around chatting in groups? (This annotation contains an image)
Why was Rey in heaven when Lety held cheerleader practice at their house?
Part of being a skilled reader is making predictions and anticipating what will happen next. Why do you think Irene doesn't have Rey anything for Valentine's Day? (This annotation contains an image)
Rey remembers Irene's name but not the name of the girl he dated after Irene. How does this fact contribute to the overall development of this book?
Chapter 11 - King of the Mountain
King of the Mountain is another imaginative game kids would play. One person would stand at the top of a hill or "mountain," and the other kids would try to remove that person (by pushing and shoving) from the top and take it themselves. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rey mean when he says that it would be "shameful" to die with his "sword still sheathed"?
Rey is washing his cut in dirty canal water and wrapping it in a dirty sock. This could lead to a very serious infection as both of those things could introduce harmful bacteria into the cut. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why didn't 'Amá fuss at Rey about his cut?
Chapter 12 - Smokin'
By now you have noticed, The Jumping Tree is a collection of tales about the lessons Rey learns as he grows up. Read the name of this chapter. What do you think Rey is going to try next? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Chuy say this is the day that Rey is going to "become a man"?
A "game of chance" is a game that has a randomized outcome. Wheel of Fortune is a game of chance. When the wheel is spun, there is no knowing where it will land. There are games of chance that people wager money on. The photo shows a Plinko board which is also a game of chance. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rey have a difficult time telling Chuy what he really feels about smoking?
How do you feel about Rey standing up to Chuy and not smoking? Do you think that took a lot of courage? Did you think Rey would tell Chuy no or go along with him? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 13 - Las Botas
Based on what you have read in the text, what is Rey's point of view about the cowboy boots?
K-Mart used to be have "blue-light specials." During a blue-light special, certain items would be announced as discounted and a flashing blue-light would be posted to help shoppers locate the items. Rey is worried that his boots will be cheap and not the right brand. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why are the boots so important to Rey? Make sure you cite evidence from the text in your answer.
Have you ever had this experience? Has there ever been a particular clothing item or shoes that you HAD to have, and your parents didn't understand? Do you think that we put too much emphasis on name brands? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 14 - Texas, Our Texas!
Remember the video that you watched at the beginning of this book on cultural perspective? That is what Mrs. Sauceda wants her students to realize. Much of what is in history books and presented as "factual" is really slanted toward cultural perspectives. (This annotation contains an image)
Read the highlighted sentence from the text. What does Rey mean when he says crossing between Mexico and Texas was "old hat"?
Throughout the course of history, people have used civil disobedience to bring about social change. The many protests and marches that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement are examples of civil disobedience. (This annotation contains an image)
César Chávez was a labor leader and advocate for better working conditions for migrant workers. Watch this brief video on the remarkable life of Chávez. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on what you have read in the text, what is true of Mrs. Sauceda?
How do you feel about this? Should we categorize/label people based on nationality? (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Amado tell the class "stay brown"?
Chapter 15 - I Fought the Law
The phrase " I fought the law" typically means the underdog has challenged the authority or the person in charge. There are many songs with this same theme, and in every case "the law or the authority" wins.
Notice that Rey's entire world begins and ends in his barrio. His family does not have the resources or the need to travel beyond their neighborhood. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rey say that Willy is "danger incarnate"?
Do you think there really is a "central computer," or is the police officer bluffing the kids so they will be safe in the future? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, what "terrible things" does Rey think will happen if he calls home?
Watch this video on character development. As you watch, think about Rey and the changes he is undergoing. At the end of the chapter, you will be asked to answer a question regarding Rey. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 16 - Kiss Me, Kate
Nostradamus believed that he could predict the future and published his predictions in The Prophecies in 1555. Some believe his predictions have or will come true. Others notice that the links between what Nostradamus predicted and the actual occurrences are very weak. (This annotation contains an image)
Read this sentence from the text: "We settled down and got offstage and ready for our cues in the wings."Which of the following sentences uses wings in the same way that it is used in the sentence form the text?
This photograph shows the way that actors typically dress for Shakespearean plays. How do you think this will go over with Rey and his buddies? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rey say, "We were sheep..."?
Read this highlighted sentence from the text. Think about the shift that is occurring in Rey. Write a response in which you cite evidence from the text as you answer this question. Is Rey undergoing a change in perspective?
Chapter 17 - Track Boy
Are you surprised that Rey has given up acting after Felipe's experience on stage? (This annotation contains an image)
What happens to Rey as he is running the hurdles?
For a long time, people in this nation looked at sports as belonging to men and boys. Joe is stating what people believed for many years. Today, we know this is not true as women and girls have proven themselves to be outstanding athletes. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 18 - The Alamo, Remembered
What is commonly referred to as "The Alamo," at the time of the famous battle for Texas Independence was a crumbling, abandoned mission. While the facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Brother Smith call Joey "the epitome of patriotism"?
How does Rey view Charlie?
The Alamo and Wounded Knee are both famous battles in American history in which an underdog takes on a mightier force. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 19 - The Lover of Life
When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions. What Rey is experiencing is a normal reaction.
What does Rey mean when he says he had seen his 'Apá "bear up"?
Earlier in our history it was not uncommon for funerals or wakes to take place in the home of the deceased. This may seem strange, but it was a common practice at one time. (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 20 - Todo el Santo Día
Why does Rey feel nothing will every happen to the person who killed Tío Angel?