The Tarantula In My Purse

Section 1: The Genesis–Chapter 4

  1. Carrion: the decaying flesh of dead animals
  2. Entomologist: a person who studies in or is an expert of zoology concerned with insects
  3. Exquisite: extremely beautiful, and typically delicate
  4. Gargoyle: a grotesque carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the gutter of a building, typically acting as a spout to carry water clear of a wall
  5. Garrulous: excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters
  6. Quiver: tremble or shake with a slight rapid motion
Comprehension Questions
  1. Dad finds the baby turkey vulture in the middle of a footpath in the Potomac River bottomlands. (pg. 2)
  2. When Twig and Yammer are watching t.v., Yammer strikes the horse and rider on the screen thinking it is prey. (pg. 8)
  3. Twig feels sorry for Yammer because he is stuck in the house when he needs to see things move like they do in the woods. (pg. 10)
  4. While in the shower Yammer likes to bathe in the puddles of the water. (pg. 11)
  5. Yammer likes Craig’s model train because it moves like a garter snake. (pg. 13)
  6. While at breakfast Jean Craighead George leans across and tells Twig, Craig and Luke that it is time to let Yammer go into the wild. (pg. 15)
  7. The man in Boiling Springs gives the advice to put the ducklings into a bathtub with 1 ½ inches of water and put chick mash into the water in order to make sure the ducklings can eat. (pg. 19)
  8. The family at first manages the bathing schedule by not taking baths. Eventually the children bathe under the hose and mother showered at the local swimming pool. (pg. 21-23)
  9. After Luke says he doesn’t want to bring wild things home anymore, Jean finds a bucket under his bed containing five salamanders. (pg. 25)
  10. The crow, New York doesn’t want to leave the family because he had forgotten his family after a few meals of hamburger and cheese and had become a George. (pg. 27)
  11. When feeding the gosling from her hand, Twig learns that if she continues to feed it from her hand she will be mother goose. (pg. 29)
  12. The policeman arrests the duck and goose for disturbing the peace. (pg. 33)

Section 2: Chapters 5–10

  1. Anthropomorphize: the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object
  2. Glisten: of something wet, or greasy that glitters, shines
  3. Heredity: the passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another
  4. Scrappy: consisting of disorganized, untidy, or incomplete parts
  5. Swamp: an area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects; a bog or marsh
  6. Vindictive: having or showing a strong or unreasoning desire for revenge
Comprehension Questions
  1. The animals that dwell uphill in the spring are salamanders and frogs. (pg. 37)
  2. The two things that make working on the porch perfect for Jean is the windows and glass door, which allow her to look onto the woods and allow the children to easily find her. (pg. 39)
  3. New York tells all of crowdom that he knows what is going on by making short caws of distress and pumping his head up and down. (pg. 40)
  4. Crowbar makes it known he craves attention by dropping spoons and forks off the table. (pg. 46)
  5. Joan would know that Twig, Craig and Luke were safely on their way to school when Crowbar returned from walking the children to the bus stop. (pg. 47)
  6. Crowbar uses his speaking skills to advantage by landing on the neighbors food laden table and saying hello. This frightened the neighbors and they would flee leaving Crowbar to fill up on the food. (pg. 49)
  7. Within a month the pond held seven sunfish, six crayfish, two bass, one baby turtle, and five bull frog tadpoles. (pg. 52)
  8. Luke thinks Crowbar is killing the fish. (pg. 53-54)
  9. Crowbar gets the nuts off the table by pushing the handle of the mug to the edge of the table so that the paper cup and nuts underneath fall to the ground. (pg. 55-56)
  10. Luke finally discovers that it is the crayfish who are killing the fish. (pg. 59)
  11. Hands and Crowbar are helpful to one another as Crowbar after opening the bread bin drop bread to Hands. Hands then takes shiny things that he thinks are food and then discards for Crowbar when he realizes they are inedible. (pg. 64)
  12. Crowbar joins the children going down the slide by using a coffee can lid as a toboggan so he can slide. (pg. 67)

Section 3: Chapters 11–15

  1. Enchanted: to fill someone with great delight; charm
  2. Fledgling: a young bird that has the beginnings of feathers to fly
  3. Gusto: enjoyment or vigor in doing something
  4. Roost: a place where birds settle or congregate to rest at night
  5. Sleek: hair, fur, or skin that is smooth and glossy
  6. Verve: vigor and spirit, or enthusiasm
Comprehension Questions
  1. Jean names the falcon that John and Frank gave her, Bad Boy after the bird bit and dug his talons into her hand. (pg. 73)
  2. It is odd that Crowbar ignores the falcon because crows are born to harass falcons, owls, and hawks. (pg. 74)
  3. When the neighbors find baby robins, Jean tells them to return the birds to where they found it, then wait two hours. If the parents do not return by then they are to bring them back to her. (pg. 80-81)
  4. Boay doesn’t need a mother because as soon as he was born he could slither away and feed himself. (pg. 83
  5. Luke has been quite all the years before 4th grade because he has been quietly observing his brother and sister and has learned from their mistakes. (pg. 83)
  6. When the chickadee scolds Jean she notices that the bird feeder is empty. (pg. 85)
  7. Parus is not restless when winter comes because chickadees are resident birds and stay on the same property all year long. (pg. 87-88)
  8. Crows are sensible migrants as they only migrate a short distance to find a winter home, no more than twenty miles. (pg. 90)
  9. The crows are jubilant on the fifth day because Crowbar joins their migration. (pg. 92)
  10. When Luke lifts the lid of the Boay’s cage he escapes and the girls scream and hug each other. (pg. 95)
  11. While studying the two white mice, Twig doesn’t know what she wants to discover as she doesn’t want to influence the conclusion, she wants to observe what happens. (pg. 98)
  12. The project is revolting because the mice reproduce so quickly that the adult mice start to eat the babies. The project ends with the mice being fed to Boay. (pg. 101)

Section 4: Chapters 16-21

  1. Carapace: the hard upper shell of a turtle, crustacean, or arachnid
  2. Covey: a small party or flock of birds, especially partridge
  3. Exoskeleton: a frigid external covering for the body in some invertebrate animals, especially arthropods, providing both support and protection
  4. Inevitable: certain to happen; unavoidable
  5. Methodical: done according to a systematic or established form of procedure
  6. Querulous: complaining in a petulant or whining manner
Comprehension Questions
  1. Mason thinks Craig is his mom. pg. (102)
  2. The raccoon twins pull down Mason’s tail when playing because they know it will stop the skunk from spraying. (pg. 104)
  3. The family move Mason out to the shed as Virginia doesn’t like the skunk. (pg. 105)
  4. The family doesn’t think Boxy will fall down the stairs as when they live in the wild they must come across cliffs and sense the space below them and turn around. (pg. 108)
  5. While the family is trying to figure out how to feed Sonar, Virginia wisely suggests they catch the bat and put it in the attic where it is cold. (pg. 112)
  6. Jean says tarantulas are like Humpty Dumpty because the thin shell-like carapace that protects the spider’s abdomen is very fragile and if they are broken they cannot be put back together. (pg. 115)
  7. Besides defending Jean’s house, Cracker warns her of strangers, announces the arrival of friends and acts as an alarm clock. (pg. 12)
  8. When Jean took home twelve eggs to hatch, she expected only one to hatch, but all twelve were successful. (pg. 123)
  9. The secret to the bobwhite’s survival is that they form coveys and at night they sit in circles with their tails facing the middle and their heads facing out so that an enemy can be seen coming from any direction. (pg. 124
  10. Some of Darwin’s favorites spots to build nests are on the bookcases, the mantelpiece, and in the leaves and stems of plants. (pg. 125)
  11. Unca is a hit with the neighborhood kids because when they would tap on the glass of his terrarium he would come out of the mud and raise his one large claw over his face to protect his property. (pg. 128)
  12. When Twig brings over a boy that Jean doesn’t like Rana the bullfrog makes himself known to the boy and he ran out of the house, jumped into his car and drove away and was never seen again. (pg. 134)