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A boy's tenth birthday marks an event he would rather ignore: the day that he is ready to take his place as a "wringer" at the annual family fest, Pigeon Day. When an unwanted visitor--in the form of a trusting pigeon--arrives on his window sill, the boy realizes that it is a sign to stand up for what he believes.
Jerry Spinelli first became a published author at the age of 16, when his town newspaper published his poem about the local football team. His first book for children, SPACE STATION SEVENTH GRADE, was published in 1982. In 1990, Spinelli won both the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for his novel MANIAC MAGEE.
"'Wringer' has some grim passages describing the slaughter of the pigeons, and some rather stock characterizations, but this is a well-plotted, readable story. Spinelli's message is a hopeful one--even a 10-year-old child can make the right choice and turn away from cruelty and violence."
"A story both comic and disturbing, this is lit by Palmer's growing courage and Dorothy's surprising loyalty."
"Perhaps best known for his novel 'Maniac Magee,' which won the 1991 Newbery Medal, Spinelli has produced in 'Wringer' a story both less antic and more deeply felt than that earlier work....While Beans and Mutto are cartoonish figures, the adults in 'Wringer' are fully imagined. Some of them are even kind. There's real life here on both sides of the firing line."
"Spinelli has a knack for characterization that serves him will in this oddly frightening, creepily believable novel."
From the Publisher
Palmer LaRue will soon turn 10, a date he has been dreading for his whole life. Palmer is supposed to become a wringer, which is an honored part of the town's Pigeon Day. As thousands of pigeons are released in the town park, ten to 20 at a time, local men compete to see who can shoot down the most birds. Wringers are the town's 10-year-old boys who destroy the pigeons that have been wounded, by wringing their necks. Palmer wants no part in killing the birds, but doesn't know how to refuse participation in this town tradition, one that his friends all eagerly anticipate. Then Palmer meets Nipper, a pigeon that seems to seek Palmer out. In a town where pigeons are hated, Palmer puts his own reputation at stake by protecting his secret pet, an act which eventually helps him find the courage to defy the violence of Pigeon Day.
WAYMER--Hundreds of sharpshooters in and around this rural community are cleaning their shotguns as they look forward to Saturday's 63rd annual Pigeon Day. Beginning at around 8 a.m., participants who have paid a fee will each have the chance to shoot at ten to twenty pigeons as they are released from boxes.
As Palmer comes of age, he must either accept the violence of being a wringer at his town's annual Pigeon Day or find the courage to oppose it.