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Wringer (Trophy Newbery) Paperback – May 1, 2018
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From School Library Journal
Palmer dreads his 10th birthday, when he will become a "wringer," trained to wring the necks of pigeons gunned down in an annual shooting contest. The thought of killing the birds sickens him, as does the bullying behavior of his three buddies. When Palmer makes a pet of a stray pigeon, he struggles to find the courage needed to confront his peers and act according to his conscience. A moral drama sure to engage young readers and promote classroom discussion. A Newbery Honor selection.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
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.
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Nine year old Palmer lives in fear of his upcoming 10th birthday. Every year, his town has an annual Pigeon Day shoot, and at the age of ten, most if not all the boys in town become "wringers"--the kids who wring the necks of the wounded pigeons that are shot. Palmer wants nothing to do with the event, yet finds himself pressured to join his friends and not be made fun of. Will Palmer follow the crowd or stick up for himself? And what happens when his friends find out he's been hiding a pet pigeon in his room?
Spinelli really has a knack for getting into the mind of a child, and explaining the problems and dilemmas kids face, and the "kid logic" they use to solve said problems. (Ex: Palmer scoffs how adults don't understand how important it is to get a nickname from the neighborhood gang of "cool" kids, even if that nickname is "Snots". ) As time goes on, the special bond Palmer forms with his pet pigeon is utterly heartwarming, to the point the bird becomes his own character, with his own temperament and personality. During which, I learned a lot of interesting facts about pigeons I would've never known otherwise...which makes the inevitable day of the pigeon shoot that much more suspenseful and nerve wracking; wondering if Palmer's tiny friend will survive the day or not. All the while, Palmer must find the courage to tell his family and friends how he really feels about the business of being a wringer.
A very poignant book to read about the perils of peer pressure, as well as a great story for any animal lover.