Section 1: Chapters 1-6

  1. Carburetor: a device in an internal combustion engine for mixing air with a fine spray of liquid fuel
  2. Citizen: a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either a native or naturalized
  3. Constraints: a limitation or restriction
  4. Instinct: an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in animals in response to a particular stimuli
  5. Litter: trash such as paper, cans and bottles, that is left in the open or public place; a group of young animal born at the same time
  6. Tintinnabulation: a ringing or tinkling sound
Comprehension Questions
  1. Zinkoff hears his mother’s warning of, “Don’t cross the street,” a thousand times in his ears. (pg. 3)
  2. The pups discover that they not only like winning better than losing, but they love winning. (pg. 6)
  3. As Mrs. Zinkoff looks up the street on the first day of school she sees the long neck of a giraffe and knows that it is her son wearing his giraffe hat despite being told not to wear it to school. (pg. 9)
  4. Miss Meeks thinks first graders can be very unpredictable. (pg. 10)
  5. Miss Meeks famous speech begins, “Good morning, young citizens…”. (pg. 13)
  6. When Zinkoff hears the word tintinnabulation he grins and giggles. (pg. 14)
  7. Miss Meeks says that after completing twelve years of school they will have been in school 2,160 days. (pg. 16)
  8. The first stop of Miss Meek’s Learning Train is “Writing My Own Name.” (pg. 17)
  9. Zinkoff is disappointed for the first minute of recess because he expected something new and different, but it was simply free time. (pg. 20)
  10. When Zinkoff runs forward to answer the tall red-haired boy he trips over a foot and lands on his face. (pg. 22)
  11. As the tall boy walks off he purposely steps onto Zinkoff’s giraffe hat. (pg. 24)
  12. The three things that Zinkoff’s dad uses to patch up his cars are duct tape, bailing wire and chewing gum. (pg. 25)
  13. Zinkoff believes that the stars in the sky fall and then his mother collects them, freezes them and they become the star stickers she gives him each day. (pg. 27)

Section 2: Chapters 7-14

  1. Atrocious: of very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant
  2. Eruption: a sudden outbreak of something, typically something unwelcome or noisy
  3. Gawk: to stare openly and stupidly
  4. Haphazard: lacking any obvious principle of organization
  5. Intrepid: fearless; adventurous
  6. Maneuver: a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care
  7. Salute: a prescribed or specified movement, typically a raising of the hand to the head; a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment
Comprehension Questions
    1. Eating has become hazardous for Zinkoff because he is laughing so hard at silly words such as jabip and jaboop, that potato comes out of his nose and he is sent to his room. Pg 30, 31)
    2. Zinkoff makes a huge snickerdoodle cookie for Andrew. (pg. 37)
    3. After Zinkoff throws up on the ball, two other players throw up at the sight. (pg. 46)
    4. Zinkoff wants to hear Mrs. Biswell say a number in the thousands so that he can feel that his school will never end. (pg. 50, 51)
    5. Once a year Mrs. Biswell wonders to herself why she became a teacher as she doesn’t really like children. (pg. 52)
    6. The only person allowed to touch Mrs. Biswell’s eraser is Mrs. Biswell herself. (pg. 56)
    7. The two things that Zinkoff’s dad brings to prepare for, Take Donald Zinkoff to Work Day are a tall stack of envelopes and sheets of paper. (pg. 63)
    8. After putting the letter into the mailbox, the kid on the step screams at Zinkoff that it isn’t a real letter. He opens it, tears it in half and then stuffs it back into Zinkoff’s mail bag. (pg. 69)
    9. To prevent Donald from sneaking off to school his mom places Polly by the door to act as an alarm, as she will scream “Bye bye” to anyone who leaves. (pg. 78, 79)
    10. Though Zinkoff cannot put his understanding of time into words, what he does understand is that time by itself is nothing, emptiness, and that people are not made for emptiness. (pg. 82)
    11. As Zinkoff imagines curling up with Polly he takes one more fearful step down into the cellar to face the furnace monster. (pg. 86)
    12. After taking one last look around the kitchen before going down into the cellar, Zinkoff stuffs a sock into his mouth. (pg. 91)

Section 3: Chapters 15-22

  • Boisterous: of a person, event, or behavior that is noisy, energetic and cheerful
  • Camouflage: to hide, disguise the presence of a person, animal, or object
  • Hasten: to be quick to do something
  • Jittery: nervous or unable to relax
  • Mediocre: of only moderate quality; not very good
  • Woozy: unsteady, dizzy or dazed
Comprehension Questions
  1. After Mr. Yalowitz asks Zinkoff if he’d like to experience life in the front row, Rachel Abano is sent to the seat in the boondocks. (pg. 96)
  2. When the teacher return graded papers the students notice that Zinkoff never gets an A. (pg. 99)
  3. When Gary Hobin balls up his fist and puts it in Zinkoff’s face he says he will give Zinkoff the biggest lead anyone ever saw and that he had better not lose it. (pg. 104)
  4. As Hobin runs alongside Zinkoff, he screams into his ear, “ Run, you dumb turtle! Run!” (pg. 106)
  5. The kids go down Halftank Hill on sled, roll, run, tumble, bicycle, tricycle, Rollerblade, skate board and trash-can lid down. (pg. 117)
  6. On the test Zinkoff is stumped by the question, “Who is your best friend?” (pg. 120)
  7. Binn’s answer to Zinkoff’s held-back question is that he is saving his ear wax to make a candle. (pg. 126)
  8. Zinkoff gives Binn an Altoid tin that has earwax that he has saved for Binn’s candle. (pg. 131)
  9. Zinkoff takes chairs out into the backyard to practice weave-around-the-chairs, the one foot hop and the hiney hop for Field Day. (pg. 136)
  10. Hobin’s final insult after telling Zinkoff that he’s not a Yellow, is to say he can’t even walk straight. (pg. 139)
  11. Zinkoff describes the old lady’s movements across the floor as a frozen gallop. (pg. 145)
  12. Zinkoff tries to divert the old lady’s attention so she won’t ask his name by telling her he can spell, “tintinnabulation.” (pg. 150)
  13. Even though Donald knows that his dad is not a whistler and his mother is not a stomper and he knows that they love him he can’t help thinking that it must be nice to have someone go bonkers over you. (pg. 158)

Section 4: Chapters 23–30

  • Bluff: an attempt to deceive someone into believing that one can or will do something
  • Commotion: a state of confused and noisy disturbance
  • Decapitate: to cut off the head of a person, or animal
  • Pelt: to attack someone by repeatedly hurling things at them
  • Skirmish: an episode of irregular or unpremeditated fighting, especially between small or outlying parties, armies or fleets
  • Trance: a half conscious state characterized by an absence of response to an external stimuli, typically as induced by hypnosis
Comprehension Questions
  1. Andrew gives the impression, unlike other sixth-graders that he belongs there and doesn’t have to apologize for being born. (pg. 164)
  2. When Zinkoff tries to combine marching with playing the flute he marches into parked cars, the bike racks and other marchers. (pg. 167)
  3. Since the snow is wet and packs easily into snowballs, snowball fights break out on the streets. (pg. 172)
  4. Zinkoff whispers aloud the words that have been inside him, “I will find her. I will find her.” (pg. 176)
  5. Halfway along the block Zinkoff thinks of the alleys and how as a young child he had played in the alleys. He knows this is where she will be found. (pg. 180)
  6. When Polly used to run away his mother said that she got that habit from Donald. Then she would say, “Katie, bar the door.” (pg. 183, 184)
  7. One of Zinkoff’s earliest beliefs was that a number of stars fell to earth each day so that mother’s could collect them to give them as star stickers to put on their children’s shirts. (pg. 187)
  8. When thinking about angels Zinkoff wonders if they make snow angels and if they are invisible in the snow. (pg. 191)
  9. After Zinkoff sinks his whole face into the Cool Whip he wakes and finds that he has sleepwalked himself into a parked car. (pg. 194)
  10. When his mother ask him what he was doing out in the snow, Zinkoff tells her he was looking for Claudia. (pg. 199)
  11. When Zinkoff tries to leap off the bed his father says no way, he is grounded for the day. (pg. 202v
  12. The feeling that Zinkoff hasn’t experienced in years is that of being a little kid who has just been read a bedtime story. (pg. 208)
  13. Unlike other “normal leftover,” Zinkoff doesn’t take the hint that he isn’t wanted for the game and so goes away, but stays and stares at the kids who chose the teams. (pg. 216, 217)