Parents' Guide to


By Tara L. Rivera, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Mesmerizing and disturbing moral allegory.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 9+
Though the backdrop is disturbing (kids in the town are expected to kill a pigeon when they turn 10), the story itself is not. The main character learns to stand up for what he believes- even when his friends, parents, and the whole town have other expectations.
age 11+


I think this book is the best out of all the books ive read. It includes a lot of feelings. Palmer is a really good kid who doesnt like to wring the pigeons neck. Wringing a pigeons neck is what they do in their town. Unfortunately every person has to do this at a certain age. Star rate is 5 because it was incredible reading this book. It leaves a really good message.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (17 ):

Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, WRINGER is a mesmerizing morality tale about a gruesome town-unifying event and a boy who cannot make sense of it. The dread is pervasive from the first page, the casual cruelty of almost everyone around Palmer -- adult and child -- is frightening, and the rush of events sweeps the reader along just as it does Palmer.

Palmer struggles for bit to try to fit in, but the wild pigeon changes all that. Jerry Spinelli skillfully blends in bits of comic relief, like Palmer anxiously pacing back and forth as Nipper mimics and struts behind. This has the effect of making Nipper so charming, in a pigeon sort of way, that the reader is as frightened for him as Palmer is. Even the parallel of Palmer's secret friendship with Dorothy creates a sense of anguish and insecurity.

Book Details

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