Study Guide

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Chapter 8

By Bette Bao Lord

Chapter 8

August: Monsters

  • The Wongs help Señora Rodriguez, watching her house while she goes to visit Nonnie.
  • With the extra rent money they now have, her parents get Shirley a present. Drumroll, please… it's her very own bed, which is also a sofa.
  • Now that the Wongs are temporary landlords, they've got to take care of the building.
  • Her dad summons Shirley to help him, starting in the furnace room. It's creepy down there, making Shirley think there are monsters chilling in the basement. There aren't, of course, but we totally know the feeling.
  • Her father's excited about it this gig and all the gizmos and gadgets galore in the basement, but Shirley is a bit skeptical that there's anything awesome to be found down here.
  • Her dad's proven right in the end, though, and after they take time to clean up the stuff they find, there are treasures for each tenant in the building.
  • Shirley gets quite good at being handy around the house—so much so, that when the lights go out one night when her father is out, Shirley takes charge.
  • She lights a candle, but it goes out.
  • The boiler and pipes clank like hungry monsters, and the walls are sticky like they are covered in blood.
  • Eventually Shirley's father shows up—yay—and he turns his cigarette lighter on. When he does, though, he screams…
  • There's no monster, though. Instead, Shirley messed up the walls he just painted by feeling around in the dark (that's why they were sticky). She likes the affect, but her masterpiece is sadly soon painted over.

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