Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him reconsider."
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Below is an image of a four-point stance. Can you imagine John crouching down and running into his cousin? (This annotation contains an image)
When authors write, they sometimes use the literary device of "flashback" to give background information about a character or event. The story "flashes back" to an earlier time period. Sentences like "I can still remember the first time..." often predict a flashback.
What is the impact of using the simile "when the wind blows over the prairie, it looks wavy, like the ocean?"
This is an allusion. Bugs Bunny is a cartoon character. Many people find him and the other characters on the Looney Tunes cartoons very funny. By alluding (referring) to Bugs Bunny, Crash tells us that Penn thought that Crash was joking around and being funny, similar to Bugs Bunny. (This annotation contains a video)
Which sentence best supports the idea that Crash is looking for Penn?
Which sentence explains why Crash thinks that Penn is inviting him to snatch the second button?
This paragraph has two examples of hyperbole. Hyperbole is a type of figurative language that uses words and phrases to exaggerate an emotion or idea. "His head almost wobbled off" shows how surprised and awed Penn was, not that his head was actually going to fall off. "His front yard, which was the size of a bathroom mat" is also a hyperbole--his lawn is not actually the size of a bathroom mat. Crash uses this hyperbole to show how small he thought the yard was. (This annotation contains a video)
"Dirty look" is an idiom. It is a type of figurative language. It means that Abby looked angrily at Crash. Watch the video below to learn the difference between literal and figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is the main character called Crash? Support your answer with details from the text.
Quakers are members of the Religious Society of Friends. One of their beliefs is the idea of pacifism (being opposed to war and violence).
An interesting note: Pennsylvania, the state the two boys live in, is one of the original 13 colonies. It was founded by William Penn, who was a Quaker. One of the nicknames for the state is "the Quaker state." When William Penn, a pacifist like our character Penn, founded the colony, one of the first things he did was to make peace with local American Indian groups. (This annotation contains an image)
What does "kicked in the afterburners and zipped across the finish line" mean?
"Then he jumped like a jack-in-the-box." This is a simile. When you visualize Webb jumping up, does the simile help you imagine how fast he got up? Similes, a type of figurative language, compare two people, events, or ideas, allowing the reader or listener to draw parallels between the two. Similes are marked by the words "like" and "as." (This annotation contains an image)
Conestoga wagon was a wagon used in the United States and Canada in the late 1700s and 1800s. Its name comes from an area in Pennsylvania. (This annotation contains an image)
Crash asks, "So where is the rest?" What does this tell you about Crash?
Why do you think that Penn didn't tell Crash he was a vegetarian?
Why did Crash dive over the sofa? Support your answer with details from the story.
Crash thinks that being rich means having a lot of toys and a large house. Mr. Webb replies, "[W]e're not poor at all. In fact, I would say in a lot of ways we're rich." As you continue to read, pay attention to what it means to be rich and what it means to be happy. Especially pay attention to Crash's family--are they rich? Would his parents say that they are "in a lot of ways rich?" As you read, think about possible themes for the book. (This annotation contains a video)
The Phillies are a baseball team that play in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (This annotation contains an image)
What do those three reasons tell you about Crash's dad?
Why did Crash leave a meatball on Webb's front steps? Support your answer with details from the text.
By saying, "And then, like there was a conductor waving a baton, we both started laughing at the same time," the author shows you that the laughing happened at the same time as if it were coordinated. A conductor is the person at a concert who directs the people playing instruments. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think "seeing a three-eared Easter Bunny" means?
What does Crash mean by "talking prices"?
Do you think Mike is actually complimenting Webb? Support your answer with details from the text.
"She was a goddess" is an example of a metaphor, which is a type of figurative language. By describing the girl as a goddess, Crash implies she shares many traits with a goddess. Watch the video below to learn more about metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Mike think that the new girl is more likely to notice Crash than notice him?
Why do you think that Crash calls Mike "Deluca" in this sentence?
Why does the vice-principal let the boys go without a punishment? Use details from the text to support your answer.
What does "all itchy for action" mean?
What is the significance of Penn Webb trying out to be a cheerleader?
In football, there are 11 players on the field. Players are usually offensive or defensive (or on special teams). Crash is an offensive player as a running back. This means he is one of the players that a quarterback might throw the ball to and so is able to score touchdowns. Both Mike and Eric are defensive players. Mike is a line backer and Eric is a defensive back.
"You'd be tired too, if you hadn't sold a house since the Pilgrams came over" is an example of figurative language. As readers, we know that the Pilgrims came to the United States a long time ago and so understand that when Crash's mother says "since the Pilgrims came over," she means it's been a long time since she sold a house.
Why do you think her father's briefcase looked like a suitcase when Abby held it?
Do you think that Crash is scared? Though the word "terrified" means scared, based on the context of the discussion, a reader probably would assume that Crash is not actually terrified. Crash is using sarcasm to imply the opposite of what he actually said.
In this context, gender issues are opinions about the roles boys/men and girls/women have in society. Crash is saying that Penn Webb is acting like a girl because he is trying out for cheerleading, which Crash thinks of as a girl's team. Abby asked her father, rather than her mother, about the number of square feet in an acre because she thinks of math as "men's stuff." These are stereotypes that people have and are not necessarily true. Abby's mom was the one who actually knew the answer to the math question. Penn Webb is a boy, and there are boys on cheerleading teams (as Crash himself mentions earlier).
A second-class citizen is a person who is treated as if he or she is not as important or as qualified as someone else due to discrimination. Who in this story is treated as a second-class citizen and why? Use details from the story to support your answer.
What kind of person is Crash? Support your answer with details from the text.
How does Penn respond to mustard being put in his shoes?
"We butted helmets like bighorn sheep." What type of figurative language is this?
This is what bighorn sheep look like. Can you imagine Crash and Mike butting heads like this? (This annotation contains an image)
What does this tell you about Jane's character?
What does "made like a rifleman" mean?
This is an allusion to the movie character King Kong. King Kong is a giant gorilla that terrorizes New York City. (This annotation contains an image)
One of the themes of the book involves stereotypes. What is surprising about Mike and Crash being scared of a mouse?
Do you think that Crash's mother is too scared to get a trap or is there another reason she tells Crash's father to get it? By telling him he is the hunter, she is alluding to the stereotype of men hunting for food. What is interesting in this passage is that usually in those stereotypical roles, men are hunters while women cook and clean. In this case though, right after she tells Crash's father he is the hunter, she tells Crash to clean-up after himself (rather than cleaning-up after him).
What type of figurative language is "Mike was shoving the Hillside tackle halfway to China"?
What does Crash mean by "the view was great"? Use details from the story to support your answer.
Crash thinks, "I'm not doing this for you." Who do you think he is doing it for? What details from the story support your conclusion?
Being "benched" means that you are not playing but watching the game from the sidelines (near or on the bench). When the coach said, "[Y]ou're already benched for the first quarter of our next game," he meant that Crash will not be starting the game on the field but instead will be watching someone else play that position.
Which statement supports the idea that Crash is excited to see his grandfather?
TDs stands for touchdowns.
Why did Crash keep starting at his mother until she looked away?
Why might Abby protesting against the new mall be a problem for her mother?
A rooming house is similar to an apartment building. People rent a room or a series of rooms.
By putting out the school pictures and saying "This is the important stuff," what conclusion can we draw about Scooter?
Backyard wildlife habitat certification is something that really exists. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would Abby call Crash "[M]y nice, sweet, wonderful, lovable big brother"? Give details from the text to support your answer.
Why do you think Crash cares that his shirt is worth ten pan pizzas?
What type of figurative language is "like I was something in a zoo"?
What does it mean to be Crash Coogan? What does he value? What kind of person is he? Use details from the text to support your answer.
Why do you think Jane doesn't like Crash? Use details from the story to support your answer.
The Achilles tendon is a tendon on the back of your ankle. It's named after Achilles, a Greek hero. In addition to being a body part, people refer to an Achilles tendon/heel as a person's weak spot. Is it possible that Jane is Crash's weak spot? (This annotation contains an image)
Who else is described as perky in the story?
Do you think that Crash is sorry? Use details from the story to support your answer.
A crusader is a person who works for a cause or works to stop an abuse. What are Jane and Penn Webb working to stop?
The wharf is the structure built next to harbor where ships dock, so a wharf rat is a rat that is often wet because it lives under the wharf. (This annotation contains an image)
Abby is excited that her mother buys her clothes at Second Time Around. How does Crash feel about Second Time Around?
Why did Abby's mom lie to her? Use details from the story to support your answer.
The newspaper described Crash as having "bulled his way for three touchdowns." To bull is to push violently or powerfully. Though not actually related, it is interesting to think about the similarity of the word "bull" and the word "bully." Do you think that Crash acts the same way on and off the field?
What does the word "gobble" mean in this sentence?
Uncle Hearn says, "Hey, no big deal. Who cares anyway? The point is, you were on television." Do you think that Abby feels the same way? Use details from the text to support your answer.
All the characters have talked about what they think a good home is. Crash's dad states, "I work seventy hours a week, to make a good home for you." As you continue to read, think about what a good home means and if the meaning changes for the characters.
What kind of figurative language is this sentence?
Why do you think that Crash's dad is upset with him? Use details from the story to support your answer.
Why was Abby herding the mouse toward the woodpile?
"I almost croaked" is an idiom meaning I was really surprised (that is-I was so surprised I almost died).
Sylvester and Tweety are Looney Tunes cartoon characters. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the impact of just having one line on the page?
Why is Crash worried about buying Scooter a present? Support your answer with details from the story.
Here is a clip of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas." (This annotation contains a video)
Though Crash and his sister received more presents than ever before, do you think this is their best Christmas ever? Support your answer with details from the story.
Scooter's statement, "It's not the sneakers that count, it's the feet" is a reference to the fact that it's the person who is important, not the clothing (or the shoes) they wear. Do you think Crash agrees?
Do you believe Crash? Use details from the story to support your answer.
A caper is another word for a prank.
Why did Jane Forbes say, "Sorry to hear about your grandfather"? What does that tell us about her character?
Why does Mrs. Linfont cook dinner for Abby and Crash?
Why do you think there are stick piles around the yard? Use details from the story to support your answer.
Why is Abby so upset?
Why did Crash make the catfish cakes?
A dud is something that doesn't do what it is supposed to do. In this case, Mike thinks that Crash is supposed to be acting a certain way and is mad that Crash isn't acting that way. Do you think that Crash is changing?
Why is Abby happy?
A snoop is someone who looks for private information about someone.
Why is it so funny that Crash bought the shoes at Second Timea Around? Use details from the story to support your answer.
Why do you think Webb runs every day?
Why is this event important?
Many people use pesticides to kill weeds in their lawns. The pesticides usually include chemicals, which is probably where the ChemLawn man gets his name.
Who is treated as a "weed" by Crash?
Abby's lecture is a great example of one of theme's in the story--no one should be treated like a weed. Just because weeds don't look like or act like the rest of the lawn doesn't mean they are bad. Who else in this story was brought up wrong? Who is treated like a weed in the story?
Do you think that Crash is going to demolish the other runners in the race? Support your answer with details from the text.
Why would Jane Forbes accuse Crash of stealing Penn's turtle?
"I stood as still as a rock" is what type of figurative language?
The spark plug is necessary to turn on a lawn mover. Who do you think took the spark plug? Why would they not want the lawn to be mowed? (This annotation contains an image)
Who is Henry Wilhide Webb III?
Who do you think will get the spot? Use details from the text to support your answer.
What does "You don't feel so safe being captain" tell us about Crash's character?
Why does Crash feel like punching a wall?
Why doesn't Crash want his mom to tell him when she buys him clothes at Second Time Around?
The runners run around a track. The baton is passed between runners. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Webb hasn't said a word to Crash all day? Use details from the text to support your answer.
A gift is something willingly given to someone else without the expectation of payment. What is the gift? What do you think Crash means?
What is the significance of Crash telling Webb to lean?
How has Crash changed over the course of the story? Use details from the text to support your answer.
What is the impact of the story being told in the first person point of view? Would it have been different had it been told in the third person?
In the beginning of the story, Penn Webb's father says that his family is rich but not in money. Crash doesn't understand what he means, thinking that rich only means money and having a lot of possessions. Do you think Crash still believes this at the end of the story? Use details from the story to support your answer.