Palmer LaRue is running out of birthdays. For as long as he can remember, he's dreaded the day he turns ten, the day he's supposed to become a wringer. In Palmer's hometown of Waymer, a boy's tenth birthday is the biggest event of his life. It marks the day that he is ready to take his place as a wringer at the annual family fest, Pigeon Day. It ...
Palmer LaRue is running out of birthdays. For as long as he can remember, he's dreaded the day he turns ten, the day he's supposed to become a wringer. In Palmer's hometown of Waymer, a boy's tenth birthday is the biggest event of his life. It marks the day that he is ready to take his place as a wringer at the annual family fest, Pigeon Day. It's an honour and a tradition. But even though he would rather stay nine for the rest of his life than become a wringer, Palmer can't stop himself from getting older. Then an unwanted visitor arrives on his windowsill, and Palmer knows that it is a sign. Somehow, he must find a way to break tradition. He must learn how to stop being afraid, and stand up for what he believes in.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-06-02 Tender scenes contrast with barbaric images in this spellbinding story about rites of passage. In Palmer's hometown, 10-year-old boys are awarded the time-honored privilege of becoming "wringers." At the most anticipated event of the year, the annual pigeon shoot, they are in charge of discarding dead pigeons and twisting the necks of wounded birds. Most of Palmer's friends await their turn with bloodthirsty eagerness, but nine-year-old Palmer is flooded with dread. While the community of Wagner appears in some ways to be a typical small town, albeit with more than its share of rednecks, Spinelli (Maniac Magee) bends the framework of normalcy to conjure a surrealistic atmosphere. Boys are typecast as violent aggressors while girls are somewhat wooden creatures embodying innocence. Animal rights activists are conspicuously absent; local customs are treated with an almost religious reverence. Somehow making improbable events seem plausible, the author maintains a sense of balance showing the best and worst sides of humanity. His eloquently wrought narrative alternates between allegory and realism, tracing Palmer's emotionally arduous journey towards manhood. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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