Section 1: Chapters 1 – 2

  1. Epaulet: an ornamental shoulder piece on an item of clothing, typically on the coat or jacket of a military uniform
  2. Martinet: a strict disciplinarian, especially in the armed forces
  3. Parsonage: a church house provided for a member of the clergy
  4. Phosphorescent: a light emitted by a substance without combustion or perceptible heat
  5. Shrill: a high pitched sounded
  6. Tremolo: a wavering effect in a musical tone, typically produced by the rapid reiteration of a note
Comprehension Questions
  1. Sterling says that the signature of spring is violets and anemones in the grass, and apple trees with their promising buds. (pg. 16)
  2. Sterling, Wowser and Oscar find a mother raccoon with four babies living in the den at the oak tree. (pg. 19)
  3. As Sterling hacks through the tree limb he fears the mother raccoon may rush him as the limb begins to break. (pg. 22)
  4. The distant lightening and low rumble of thunder sounded like artillery and reminds Sterling that war is still raging in France and that his brother Herschel was to be moved to the front lines. (pg. 23/24)
  5. Sterling thinks that it is unfair that God allowed his mother to die so young as she never had the chance to see the pets he was raising and as a biologist and mother she would have enjoyed that. (pg. 28)
  6. Wowser is Rascal’s stands as guardian at the foot of the oak tree. (pg. 30)
  7. When Rascal is first given a lump of sugar he washes it in his milk and it dissolves. When he is given a second lump he shows he has learned the lesson and puts it immediately into his mouth. (pg. 33)
  8. With Rascal sleeping in his bed with him, Sterling no longer feels lonely when his father is away. (pg. 34)
  9. On the peninsula Rascal encounters a new creature, a crawfish or crawdad, a freshwater lobster. (pg. 38)
  10. After eating his fill of crawfish, Rascal takes a nap in the willow shade near Sterling’s bicycle. (pg. 40)
  11. When Poe-the-Crow tries to steal the penny from Rascal’s mouth he accidently grabs onto some of Rascal’s whiskers, so attaching himself to the raccoon. Rascal and Poe-the-Crow fight for the penny until Sterling untangles them. (pg. 44)
  12. When Theo comes to visit, Sterling doesn’t dare tell her that her room is now his and Rascal’s. (pg. 46)
  13. When the moon rises, Rascal wakes up, leaves the oak tree to join Sterling in his bed. However, Theo is now is that room and Rascal curls up in bed with Theo who screams in fright. (pg. 49)
  14. Sterling finds Theo’s lost diamond wedding ring in Poe-the-Crow’s nest of twigs and leaves in the church belfry. (pg. 51/52)

Section 2: Chapters 3 – 4

  1. Berserk: out of control with anger or excitement; wild or frenzied
  2. Eminence: fame or recognized superiority, especially within a particular sphere or Profession
  3. Gallant: to be brave or heroic; grand or fine
  4. Gastronomic: relating to the practice of cooking or eating good food
  5. Plumage: a bird’s feathers collectively
  6. Ulterior: existing beyond which is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden
Comprehension Questions
  1. Rascal’s favorite song is the ballad, “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding.”
  2. The myth surrounding Black Hawk cave was that the Indian, Black Hawk used the cave to hide from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis who were pursuing him during the Black Hawk War. (pg. 59/60)
  3. The mother mallard defends her ducklings from Rascal by swimming directly at him, spreads her wings, takes partial flight and aims her beak between Rascal’s eyes. She then returns to her ducklings. (pg. 63)
  4. Long ago many people had traveled down the old Milwaukee trail. “Toadcrushers,” bringing lead from the mine and early settlers such as the Thure Kumlien from Sweden and Sterling’s ancestors from England. (pg. 66)
  5. The children expressed their patriotism in different ways, the girls knitted wristbands for the soldiers, the boys collected peach pits, which were burned as charcoal to make gas masks. Children also collect bits of tin foil, which were wadded into balls. (pg. 72)
  6. The serious mistake that Sterling makes in his garden is to introduce Rascal to sweet corn. The raccoon loves the corn so much that every night he raids the neighbors corn patch and eats the ears. Pg 73-75)
  7. Sterling’s dad suggests that in order to protect Rascal, and appease the angry neighbors, that Rascal should have a leash, collar and a cage. (pg. 76)
  8. The gentle serenades the Sterling and his father hear during their first night camping are a heron’s distant croak, the footfall of a fox, and fish splashing in the moonlight. (pg. 82)
  9. When Radisson visited the shores of Lake Superior in 1659, he called the lake a “sea of sweet water,” (pg. 84)
  10. A porcupine tries to break into Sterling’s box of dried groceries. (pg. 90)
  11. When Sterling and Rascal sneak up to the lake they see bathers and a doe and her fawn. (pg. 94)
  12. The hat of the fisherman fishing in his trout pond is decorated with trout flies. (pg. 95)
  13. When Sterling tells Bert that he wishes to own a cabin like his, Bert tells him you can’t get anything without working for it and that he worked for 30 years in a sporting goods store before he sold it and retired to the cabin. (pg. 100)
  14. Sterling and his father are convinced a bear is about are they see a blueberry patch that looks like it has been hit by a small cyclone and a hollow tree ripped open and honeycomb strewn on the ground. (pg. 103/104)

Section 3: Chapters 5 – 6

  1. Awl: a small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather
  2. Baleful: threatening harm; menacing
  3. Censorship: the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, film, news, etc. that are considered obscene or politically unacceptable or a threat to security
  4. Trundle: the motion of moving slowly, heavily, typically in a noisy or uneven way
  5. Veritable: used as an intensifier, often to qualify a metaphor
  6. Vociferous: to speak or act in a vehement manner
Comprehension Questions
  1. Sterling takes four quarters ($1) from his crock to use at the leather emporium. (pg. 108)
  2. When Rascal looks into the mirror at Mr. Shadwick’s shop he thinks he is seeing another raccoon. (pg. 111
  3. The old miser, Cy Jenkins makes the concession to deliver the lumber to Sterling’s home if he starts work immediately on the cage for Rascal. (pg. 113
  4. While his father is in Montana, Sterling has a charge account for groceries, but must sell two bushels of his potatoes to pay for staples and hinges for Rascal’s cage. (pg. 117
  5. When Donnybrook trots over to greet Rascal, the raccoon runs his small hands over the horse’s velvet muzzle and shiny rings of the halter. (pg. 119
  6. The impolite question that Sterling asks the Reverend Thurman is, what bet has he made with Mike Conway? (pg. 122
  7. When Rascal stands on the fence surrounding the Merino ram, the ram charges the fence, ramming his horns into the wood and nearly throwing Rascal into the pen. (pg. 124
  8. The three things that every pie eating boy wants as a prize is the three dollar grand prize, the glory and the blue ribbon. (pg. 127
  9. Michael Conway thinks he can beat Gabriel Thurman in his Model T with Donnybrook because he has seen Thurman flood his carburetor and timed him as to how long its takes to start the car. (pg. 130
  10. When Rascal is locked into his cage the first night he runs frantically throughout the cage and cries out to Sterling to be released, which Sterling does. (pg. 132
  11. When Sterling rakes leaves into piles, Rascal likes to burrow into them and jump out and surprise Sterling. (pg. 134
  12. Miss Whalen says it’s wicked to shoot a wild goose or swan because they mate for life and it leaves a widowed mate. (pg. 136
  13. Rascal bites Slammy Stillman because the boy snaps a thick rubber band into Rascal’s face hurting him. (pg. 140
  14. Rascal’s punishment for biting Slammy Stillman is to be locked in his cage for 14 days to make sure he doesn’t have rabies. Pg141

Section 4: Chapters 7 – 9

  1. Argosy: a large merchant ship, originally one from Ragusa or Venice
  2. Armistice: an agreement made by opposing sides in war to stop fighting for a period of time; a truce
  3. Chloroform: a colorless, volatile, sweet smelling liquid used as a solvent and formerly as a general anesthetic
  4. Intimation- an indication or hint; the action of making something known, especially in an indirect way
  5. Pandemonium: wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar
  6. Stratagem: a plan or scheme, especially one used to outwit an opponent or achieve an end
Comprehension Questions
  1. Uncle Fred has many jobs on the farm, but two of them are to hand milk daily the 52 cows on the farm, and maintain forty acres of tobacco. (pg. 146
  2. According to Uncle Fred, Thure Kumlien’s weakness with birds was that he was unwilling to shoot them. (pg. 151
  3. The strange service that Ernest performs for his mother is to help put the breakfast on the table, which is considered women’s work. (pg. 152
  4. Rascal causes Aunt Lillie to laugh until she cries in the honey house when he turned himself upside down in order to eat the last remaining drips from the honey faucet. (pg. 156
  5. “The War to End War,” meant that there would never be another war, conflict. (pg. 160
  6. Sterling has financial problems as Christmas approaches because that year he decided not to trap muskrats, which usually earned him seventy-five dollars. (pg. 163
  7. Jessica helps Sterling with his financial problems by sending a check for ten dollars to help with his Christmas shopping. (pg. 165
  8. Sterling describes his sister Jessica as spontaneously affectionate, thoughtful, brilliant, and at times unreasonable. (pg. 169
  9. Theo and Norm give sterling a Christmas gift of ice-skates, which were very rare in there region at the time. (pg. 172
  10. “Case weather,” is a sudden thaw with thick fog causes the tobacco leaves to soften and allows handling without damaging the leaves. All the leaves have to be taken to the stripping house and covered in canvas so that they don’t freeze. (pg. 176
  11. Uncle Fred doesn’t want his boys to go to college because he doesn’t want them to get the superior notion that they know more than he does. (pg. 179
  12. Sterling’s father suggest that he paint the canoe in the barn because if the green paint got onto the rug it wouldn’t look good with the colors of the rug. (pg. 183
  13. Sterling keep the housekeeper out of his bedroom by putting a lock on the door and pocketing the key. (pg. 184
  14. When the female raccoon approaches the edge of the stream, Rascal jumps off the canoe and swims over to her. Then they both disappear to start a new life together. (pg. 189