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Wringer
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Wringer
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Newbery Honor Book * ALA Notable Children's Book "Deeply felt. Presents a moral question with great care and sensitivity." —The New York Times"A spellbinding story about rites of passage."...
Newbery Honor Book * ALA Notable Children's Book "Deeply felt. Presents a moral question with great care and sensitivity." —The New York Times"A spellbinding story about rites of passage."...
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  • Newbery Honor Book * ALA Notable Children's Book

    "Deeply felt. Presents a moral question with great care and sensitivity." —The New York Times

    "A spellbinding story about rites of passage." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "A realistic story with the intensity of a fable." —The Horn Book (starred review)

    "Thought-provoking." —School Library Journal (starred review)

    In Palmer LaRue's hometown of Waymer, turning ten is the biggest event of a boy's life. But for Palmer, his tenth birthday is not something to look forward to, but something to dread. Then one day, a visitor appears on his windowsill, and Palmer knows that this, more than anything else, is a sign that his time is up. Somehow, he must learn how to stop being afraid and stand up for what he believes in.

    Wringer is a powerful tour de force from Newbery Medal winner Jerry Spinelli.

About the Author-

  • Jerry Spinelli received the Newbery Medal for Maniac Magee and a Newbery Honor for Wringer. His other books include Smiles to Go, Loser, Space Station Seventh Grade, Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?, Dump Days, and Stargirl. His novels are recognized for their humor and poignancy, and his characters and situations are often drawn from his real-life experience as a father of six children. Jerry lives with his wife, Eileen, also a writer, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from September 29, 1997
    Tender scenes contrast with barbaric images in this spellbinding story about rites of passage. In Palmer's hometown, 10-year-old boys are awarded the time-honored privilege of becoming "wringers." At the most anticipated event of the year, the annual pigeon shoot, they are in charge of discarding dead pigeons and twisting the necks of wounded birds. Most of Palmer's friends await their turn with bloodthirsty eagerness, but nine-year-old Palmer is flooded with dread. While the community of Wagner appears in some ways to be a typical small town, albeit with more than its share of rednecks, Spinelli (Maniac Magee) bends the framework of normalcy to conjure a surrealistic atmosphere. Boys are typecast as violent aggressors while girls are somewhat wooden creatures embodying innocence. Animal rights activists are conspicuously absent; local customs are treated with an almost religious reverence. Somehow making improbable events seem plausible, the author maintains a sense of balance showing the best and worst sides of humanity. His eloquently wrought narrative alternates between allegory and realism, tracing Palmer's emotionally arduous journey towards manhood. Ages 8-12.

  • AudioFile Magazine Johnny Heller, master of the understated narration, delivers a smooth, low-key reading of this 1998 Newbery Honor book. However, an underlying edge brings home the horror of 9-year-old Palmer "Snots" LaRue's dilemma. Palmer doesn't want to be a wringer. But in Waymer, 10-year-old boys yearn to arrive at that magical age that bestows the honor of wringing the necks of the pigeons wounded during the annual shoot of five thousand birds. Pacing is the key to the subtle emotional tension Heller delivers as Palmer, worrying about his approaching birthday, adopts a wild pigeon and risks detection by the gang of rough boys who have newly accepted him. Heller maintains this tension through to the final scene of salvation. T.B. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 1997
    Gr 4-8-During the annual pigeon shoot, it is a town tradition for 10-year-old boys to break the necks of wounded birds. In this riveting story told with verve and suspense, Palmer rebels. (Sept.)

  • Booklist

    Starred review from September 1, 1997
    Gr. 4^-7. There is violent action and gentleness and also much to think about in Spinelli's novel about a boy in a rural community who dreads the annual town Family Fest, when 5,000 captured pigeons are released in the park to be shot. The 10-year-old boys get to wring the necks of the wounded birds not killed instantly by the sharpshooters. The picnic and the killing raise funds to maintain the park. Sound unbelievable? It really happens in many parts of the country. Spinelli imagines what it must be like for one boy who cannot bear to be part of the brutality. Palmer wants to belong to the gang. He is thrilled when the hoodlum kids accept him, and he gains their grim respect. He dumps his best friend, Dorothy, and joins in when the bullies taunt her unmercifully. But he has always dreaded the annual pigeon massacre, and now that he is 10, he cannot face the initiation rite--especially when a pigeon flies through his window and becomes his beloved pet, soaring free by day and returning at night to be fed, to roost in his closet, to wake him each morning with a nip on the ear. Only Dorothy knows his secret. What if the gang finds out? Or his sharpshooter dad? Can Palmer save his pet from the slaughter? Dorothy's role is unconvincing, especially when she stands up to the bullies without being affected at all, physically or emotionally. However, the combination of the tender, sometimes comic pet story with the bloody public festival will move kids to think about a lot of issues. Can lawful horror be a part of fun and food in the park? Is hunting always wrong? Can one person make a difference? See the Read-alikes column on p.119 for books to recommend after "Wringer." ((Reviewed Sept. 1, 1997))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1997, American Library Association.)

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    HarperCollins
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