Section 1: Chapters 1-7
- peer: a person who belongs to the same age group or social group as someone else; to look curiously or carefully
- plume: a feather or group of feathers on a bird; something such as smoke, steam, or water, that rises into the air in a tall, thin shape
- taunt: a sarcastic challenge or insult
- pester: to annoy or bother someone in a repeated way
- agitated: to excite and often trouble the mind or feelings of; disturbed
- spigot: the plug used to stop the vent in a barrel
- scowl: a facial expression of displeasure; frown
- The little boy stood on his tiptoes and peered over the wall to see who was swimming in the neighbor’s pool.
- We watched the smoke plume into the air as the firefighters tried to put the bus fire out quickly.
- I feel agitated when flies buzz close to my ears and land on my food.
- His mother gave him a scowl when he admitted taking the cookies without asking.
- Madison will continue to pester her mother about when she can get her driver’s license.
- As Mike kicks the empty tin can, he wishes he could kick Simms and send him into the Allegheny River. (pg. 3)
- Mike’s family is in the food business and they have a business called Costa Brothers Fine Foods. (pg. 5)
- Mike thinks catfish smell worse than his socks and shoes. (pg. 6)
- Mike’s grandpa would take Mike outside and carry him around on his hip when he was younger and woke up scared. (pg. 10)
- When Grandpap was younger, he had worked hard, hauled crates, and then saved his money in order to start a business with his brothers. (pg. 10)
- Mike’s third wish from the genie is an endless supply of chocolate ice cream and a really big spoon. (pg. 13)
- Mike’s job at the family store every morning is to check the rat traps. (pg. 16)
- Simms give Macaroni Boy the new nickname Rat Boy. (pg. 24)
- Joseph tosses the rat into the trash because he didn’t want one of the teachers to find it and then Mike would be in trouble. (pg. 25)
- Grandpap is upset because he says that Tony has stolen money from him again. (pg. 32)
- The family didn’t lose any money in the stock market crash of 1929 because Grandpap didn’t believe in banks and hid his money in different places around the house, the store, and at Frank’s. (pg. 36)
- Mike is troubled when he hears his family talking about another grocery store that is closing. (pg. 40)
Section 2: Chapters 8-13
- quarrel: an angry argument or disagreement
- shame: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness as a result of doing something wrong; dishonor or disgrace
- hooky: to stay away from school or work without permission or explanation
- vandalism: willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property
- trudge: to walk or march steadily and usually with much effort
- brawl: to quarrel or fight noisily, usually in a public place
- suspicious: having or showing a feeling that something is wrong or that someone is behaving wrongly
- The sisters began to quarrel when they both wanted to wear the same dress to grandma’s tea party.
- Jeff decided not to play hooky from school today, since he knew that would be dishonest.
- Do not let a simple argument turn into an unnecessary brawl.
- Randy had to trudge all the way back home in the snow after he forgot to bring his lunch with him.
- Lucy stared at the vandalism on the wall, feeling disappointed for the storeowner who would have to paint over it again.
- Mike and Joseph were fighting Simms and three of his pals because Simms said Mike’s family ground up dead rats and put it into their sausages to sell. (pg. 46-47)
- The consequences for fighting at school were to work in complete silence in the principal’s office and then to help Mr. Murray clean the entire building, including the washrooms. (pg. 49)
- Mopping does not seem so bad to Mike because he had won the fight and the whole school saw him pound on Andy Simms. (pg. 50)
- Grandpap does not want Mike to tell his mother he is sick because he does not want her to worry about him. (pg. 53)
- Mike’s dad says that the hobos are just ordinary men who are broke, hungry, and down on their luck, but that they are not criminals and he doesn’t want Mike repeating cheap talk about them. (pg. 61)
- According to Joseph, the explosion took place in the same room where green bananas are put to help them ripen. (pg. 65)
- Mike laughs so hard when he imagines Pretty Boy Floyd shooting a brave banana in a robbery and causing it to explode. (pg. 66)
- Mike forgot to tell his parents about Grandpap being sick the night before. (pg. 67-68)
- Mike gets blamed for the banana mess because it is found in an empty Costa Brothers trash can. (pg. 75)
- Mike’s dad convinces Sister Mary Ted to believe Mike didn’t make the banana mess because Mike is too smart to pull a prank with a trash can with their family’s name on it. (pg. 76-77)
- Mike is afraid that Grandpap may have also been poisoned and may be the next one to die. (pg. 85)
Section 3: Chapters 14-21
- clatter: to make a rattling sound; to talk noisily or rapidly
- silhouette: a drawing, picture, or portrait of the outline of a person or object filled in with a solid, usually black, color
- pelt: to hit with repeated blows
- hustle: to push, crowd, or force forward roughly; to move or work rapidly and tirelessly
- accusation: a claim that someone has committed a wrong or a crime
- drought: a long period of time during which there is very little or no rain
- lope: an effortless way of moving with long, smooth steps
- The earthquake rolled through our house, causing our dishes and cupboards to clatter.
- The hail began to pelt us all over until we finally found shelter under the front porch awning.
- California has been suffering from a severe drought during the last several years.
- He loped through the wheat fields, watching the stalks move back and forth in the warm fall breeze.
- My mother likes me to hustle in the morning, especially when we are running late for school.
- Grandpap flies into a rage and screams at Tony, Pop, and Mom when they discuss him seeing a doctor. (pg. 88)
- Mike lies to his dad when he brings Grandpap home because he doesn’t want him to know he had snuck out of the house. (pg. 91)
- Tony doesn’t want to sell salami for the rest of his life and he doesn’t think he should have to be in the family business if he’d rather do something else. (pg. 95)
- Joseph earned the ten cents by shoveling dead rats into the trash for his father and his neighbor. (pg. 98-99)
- Mike wants to tell Joseph that maybe a poison is what killed the hobos and the rats and is also causing Grandpap to be sick. (pg. 104)
- Mike and Joseph are looking for “hidden stuff” that both rats and hobos are either eating or drinking that are causing them to die. (pg. 106)
- Mike thinks Joseph is able to ask Cap Billy questions in a nice way because his father is a cop. (pg. 111)
- Mike decides to trap the live street rat in a jar and then later give it some river water. (pg. 116)
- The squeaking sound that comes from Mike’s desk is a small, rubber kitten. (pg. 126)
- Mike and Joseph decide to make plans to hunt for a moonshiner. (pg. 127)
- Mike realizes he can never work in a place like Herr’s Island when he grows up. (pg. 130)
- While Mike and Joseph are spying on the moonshiners, they are caught by one of the men. (pg. 133)
Section 4: Chapters 22-27
- glisten: to give off a sparkling or lustrous reflection as if of a moist or polished surface
- linger: to be slow in leaving; to continue to exist as time passes
- honor: to show respect; to have the privilege of; to recognize and show admiration for publicly
- snitch: to inform or tattle
- interrogate: to question thoroughly
- swagger: an arrogantly, self-confident way of walking
- trudge: to walk or march steadily and usually with much effort
- Amelia likes to slowly linger and study each painting at the art museum.
- We plan to honor Grandma and Grandpa with a grand celebration on their 50th wedding anniversary.
- When Maggie noticed her new shirt was missing, she decided to interrogate her younger sister.
- Oliver swaggered around campus with his head held high, after scoring the winning point in the basketball finals.
- Christy loved to see the morning dew glisten on the yellow rose petals when she looked out of her bedroom window.
- Mike and Joseph tell the moonshiners they are spying on them because they were dared to do it by a kid at school. (pg. 135)
- The moonshiners decide to sell Mike and Joseph the hooch because they might end up being their customers someday. (pg. 136)
- Mike and Joseph say that Andy Simms gave them the tip about the location of the moonshiners. (pg. 137)
- Mike’s eyes sting when he promises to write Tony about how Grandpap is doing. (p. 142)
- Mike thought he had found the answer to the mystery when he checked Sneaky and he didn’t move inside the jar. (pg. 143)
- Mike’s three good omens are a sunny day in November, money in his pocket, and Andy Simms being absent from school. (pg. 143-144)
- Andy Simms gets a black eye as a result of Mike giving his name to the moonshiners. (pg. 148-149)
- Mike hides in the bathroom and discovers that Andy Simms is vomiting with blood, just like Grandpap. (pg. 151)
- Mike gets the idea to act polite to Andy by remembering his mother’s words. (pg. 156)
- Andy agrees to tell what he ate and drank the day before that made him sick if Mike gives him macaroni and cheese. (pg. 161-162)
- Mike’s dad catches him stealing the macaroni and cheese through the reflection in the glass. (pg. 170)
- Mike’s father tears up the I.O.U. and tells Mike that he is the one who owes him for helping them figure out what was making Grandpap sick. (pg. 173-174)