Section 1: Chapters 1 – 11

  1. Bombard: attack a place or person, continuously with bombs, shells, or other missiles; to assail persistently with words, words, questions, information or criticisms.
  2. Gypsy: a member of a traveling people traditionally living by itinerant trade and fortune Telling.
  3. Jackboot: a large leather military boot reaching to the knee.
  4. Rubble: waste or rough fragments of stone, brick, concrete usually as a result of the demolition of a building.
  5. Frantic: wild or distraught with fear, anxiety or other emotion.
  6. Sprawl: to sit, lie, or fall with one’s arms and legs spread out in an ungainly or awkward manner.
  7. Spectacle: a visually striking performance or display.
Comprehension Questions
  1. Misha and Uri first meet after Uri steals part of the loaf of bread that Misha has stolen from a lady. (pgs. 2/3)
  2. Uri tells Misha (she) is lucky that he didn’t kill her as he was about to steal the loaf of bread from the lady that she robbed. (pgs. 2/3)
  3. Uri takes Misha to meet other boys at a stable. (pg. 4)
  4. According to one of the boys the difference between gypsies and Jews is that not everyone hates gypsies, but everyone hates Jews. (pg. 8)
  5. Uri lives in the cellar of an abandoned barbershop. (pg. 9)
  6. All of the people Misha and Uri see are carrying shovels to dig trenches to stop the tanks. (pg. 12)
  7. By observing Kuba being chased by people because he stole a fancy lamp, Uri teaches Misha a lesson, to take only what is needed. (pg. 13)
  8. Misha thinks everyone is running a race. (pg. 17)
  9. Uri doesn’t allow Misha to snatch anything on the pickle run as he may ruin the pickle snatch. (pgs. 25/26)
  10. Uri makes Misha feel as if he has been born when he gives him a name and makes up a family history for him about being from Russia and losing his family when he was kidnapped by Polish farmers. (pg. 31)
  11. Misha tries to make up for stealing Janina’s birthday cake by stealing another cake from a bakery, placing it on her back step complete with lit candles, knocking on the door then running away. (pg. 36)
  12. After Misha sees Uri taking bread to the orphans he begins to steal two loaves of bread a day and gives one to Janina. (pgs. 42/43)
  13. When Misha goes to Janine’s at night he is chased and shot at by the jackboots because there is a curfew. (pgs. 44/4)5
  14. All the trees are being chopped down because people are cold and there isn’t any coal for a fire. (pg. 52)

Section 2: Chapters 12 – 22

  1. Ghetto: a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
  2. Muzzle: the projecting part of the face, including the nose and mouth of an animal such as a horse or dog.
  3. Nimble: quick or light in movement or action.
  4. Prescription: an instruction written by a medical practitioner that authorizes a patient to be provided with medicine or medical treatment.
  5. Shalom: used by Jews as a salutation when greeting or parting, meaning peace.
  6. Smuggle: to move goods illegally into or out of a country.
  7. Sneer: a contemptuous or mocking smile, remark or tone.
Comprehension Questions
  1. Misha knocks on Janina’s door because although he continues to leave coal and bread on the doorstep, the gifts have stopped. (pg. 56)
  2. Uri gives Misha strict instructions that when walking out on the streets he must look as if he knows where he is going, keep looking ahead and to never laugh or scream or bring attention to himself. (pg. 58)
  3. As Uri and Misha are walking to the orphans home, Misha’s attention is drawn to horses walking in a circle, but they are not real, it is a beautiful Merry-go-round. (pg. 60)
  4. The blue-and-white parade is different from the jackboot parade in that it was quiet, no tanks and no thump of jackboots. Only the shuffle of ragged shoes and the click of cart wheels as Jews make their way to the ghetto. (pg. 69)
  5. Janina’a father tells Misha that no-one in the blue-and-white parade will speak to him because he is not a Jew and they are afraid of him. (pg. 72)
  6. Misha thinks that the ghetto must be a wonderful place because when the people reached it everyone rushed inside. (pg. 74)
  7. There are suddenly more boys in the stable with Uri and Misha because they stick out on the street now that the Jews are in the ghetto. (pg. 79)
  8. Janina doesn’t wear her blue-and-white armband when she is outside playing as she is only a little girl and no-one cares about her. Also they are in the ghetto and she feels safe. (pg. 82)
  9. Misha thinks the newspapers covering the dead bodies were put there by angels. (pg. 86)
  10. The food vendors never run out of squirrel meat to sell because the squirrel is really rat. (pg. 90)
  11. When everyone in the ghetto is marched outside Misha decides to accept the challenge to stand to attention. (pg. 96)
  12. After Jon dies, Uri forces Big Henryk to wear Jon’s shoes instead of the money bags that are tied to his feet. (pgs. 100/101)
  13. Misha keeps the yellow stone that his father gave him because it is the one true part of his history, that his father gave it to him. (pgs. 104/105)
  14. After Mr. Milgrom tells both Misha and Janina that they are good children, she asks him to tell her who is better, her or Misha. (pgs. 107/108)

Section 3: Chapters 23 – 33

  • Careen: to tilt, lean over on its side (a ship) to clean, caulk, repair.
  • Commotion: a state of confused and noisy disturbance.
  • Flail: a threshing tool consisting of a wooden staff with a short heavy stick swinging from it.
  • Goad: to provoke or annoy someone so as to stimulate some action or reaction.
  • Peddler: a person who goes from place to place selling small things.
  • Pester: to trouble or annoy with frequent or persistent requests or interruptions.
  • Veer: to change direction suddenly; to suddenly change an opinion, subject, type of behavior.
Comprehension Questions
  1. Misha runs alongside the parade of cars in the ghetto to see if he can find Himmler as no-one will point Himmler out to him. (pg. 110)
  2. Misha thinks he will be able to recognize Himmler because he will be the most magnificent specimen of a Jackboot he has ever seen. (pg. 111)
  3. Everyone is afraid of Buffo the Flop because he is incredibly cruel and especially likes to kill Jewish children with his bare hands. (pg. 112)
  4. Misha thinks that Buffo hates him most of all because he is the only one who has gotten close enough to smell his mint breath and live to tell the tale. Also Misha loved to pester him. (pg. 113)
  5. Misha manages to escape from Buffo when he manages to slip his foot out of the shoe that Buffo is standing on. (pg. 113)
  6. Uncle Shepsel wants to become a Lutheran because then he would no longer be a Jew and he would be allowed to leave the ghetto. (pg. 116)
  7. Misha decides to believe there is a cow in the ghetto when Uncle Shepsel growls at Janina that there isn’t a cow. (pg. 116)
  8. Misha begins to lose respect for the Jackboots when Uri tells him that the chicken looking man in the car was Himmler. (pg. 117)
  9. Every night Misha looks forward to going out into the street and getting out of the ghetto through the two brick space in the wall. (pgs. 120/121)
  10. The food that Misha smuggles each night he gives to the children of the orphanage. (pg. 126)
  11. According to Misha his ability to steal, his speed, size and rash stupidity make him the perfect smuggler. (pg. 132)
  12. It becomes harder for Misha to sneak out each night as people now sleep in the hallways and on the stairs. (pg. 139)
  13. Misha and Janina are thrilled to find the milkweed plant because it was unusual to see anything green in the ghetto. Also Janina thinks the white fluff is her angel. (pg. 143)
  14. Enos thinks it is incredibly funny that they have been starved, frozen, beaten, set on fire in the ghetto, and now the Russians are bombing the ghetto, which is the funniest thing of all. (pgs. 152/153)

Section 4: Chapters 34 – 45

  1. Artifact: an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest.
  2. Galoot: a clumsy or oafish person.
  3. Huckster: a person who sells small things door to door; a mercenary person eager to make a profit from anything.
  4. Maw: the jaws or throat of a voracious animal; the mouth or gullet of a greedy person.
  5. Mimic: to imitate someone, or their actions or words, typically in order to entertain or ridicule.
  6. Radiant: sending out light; shining or glowing brightly; a person or their expression emanating great love, joy, or health.
  7. Quota: a limited or fixed number or amount of people or things, in particular.
Comprehension Questions
  1. Misha is allowed to participate in Hanukkah this year Mrs. Milgrom is dead and Uncle Shepsel has become a Lutheran. (pg. 157)
  2. The gifts that Misha and Janina receive from Mr. Milgrom are combs. (pg. 159)
  3. Misha has to be the menorah on the second day of Hanukkah because someone has stolen the menorah. (pg. 160)
  4. Misha is so intent on finding a pickled egg for Janina that he forgets to take of the armband that says he is a Jew and is almost caught on the other side. (pgs. 162/163)
  5. Uri warns Misha that the people in the ghetto are going to be deported in trains and that he must leave the ghetto and never get on the trains. (pgs. 168/169)
  6. After the trains start to come Mr. Milgrom asks Misha to stay close to Janina. (pg. 176)
  7. Mr. Milgrom doesn’t forbid Janina from going out to the other side because he understands that now that the trains have arrived she may be safer away from home. (pg. 180)
  8. One night Misha and Janina are unable to get back into the ghetto because all the holes in the wall have been bricked up. (pg. 182)
  9. After being caught by the Jackboots and shot by Uri, Misha awakes in a ditch and sees in the dirt Janina’s black shoe. (pgs. 187/188)
  10. The mouse that Misha finds and befriends in the farmer’s barn is eaten one day by a cat. (pg. 193)
  11. After living at the farm for three years he manages to escape when the farmer’s wife releases him and tells him to run. (pg. 194)
  12. Misha has a difficult time finding a sales job in America because of his size (only 5ft 1in), his accent and his missing ear. (pg. 200)
  13. Misha’s wife, Vivian leaves him because he is haunted by his past and doesn’t act like a normal person. (pg. 202)
  14. Misha sometimes wishes that Wendy Janina would cry when she hurts herself so that he can be the grandfather who stops her tears. (pg. 207)