- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; Not First Edit edition (December 29, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440415802
- ISBN-13: 978-0440415800
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 278 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Summer of the Monkeys Paperback – December 29, 1998
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Jay Berry Lee is happy until the summer he is 14 years old and discovers monkeys living in the creek bottoms near his parents' homestead. Set in the late 1800s, Summer of the Monkeys traces the boy's adventures as he attempts to capture 29 monkeys that have (it turns out) escaped from the circus. With somewhat dubious help from his grandfather, and over the objections of his mother, Jay goes about discovering that monkeys are much smarter and harder to catch than he thought possible. Woven into this story is a second theme about his physically disabled sister and the family's attempts to find money for an operation. As funny and touching as Wilson Rawls's Where the Red Fern Grows, this book will appeal to the young reader who has always wished for the freedom to run wild through the woods with nothing more pressing to do than find another rabbit hole--or escaped monkey. (Ages 12 and older) --Richard Farr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Honors and Praise for Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows:
A School Library Journal Top 100 Children’s Novel
An NPR Must-Read for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Winner of 4 State Awards
Over 7 million copies in print!
“A rewarding book . . . [with] careful, precise observation, all of it rightly phrased.” —The New York Times Book Review
“One of the great classics of children’s literature . . . Any child who doesn’t get to read this beloved and powerfully emotional book has missed out on an important piece of childhood for the last 40-plus years.” —Common Sense Media
“An exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.” —School Library Journal
“A book of unadorned naturalness.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Written with so much feeling and sentiment that adults as well as children are drawn with a passion.” —Arizona Daily Star
“It’s a story about a young boy and his two hunting dogs and . . . I can’t even go on without getting a little misty.” —The Huffington Post
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Top customer reviews
Book in a nutshell: Relationship, Life Lessons, Dreams, and Hard Work
The same author who wrote "Where the Red Fern Grows" does it again. When you read this book it makes you feel like you are in the Ozark Mountains. I have added this destination to my bucket list after reading this book.
Below are some quotes that I feel summarize what this book is all about.
We can learn a lot from one another. The question is will we take the time to do so? Young or old. We can encourage, equip, and challenge one another to help steer us in the right direction. Imagine if our lives were dedicated to equipping and empowering each other?
"Grandpa smiled and said, 'We surely do. You know, an old man like me can teach a young boy like you all the good things in life. But it takes a young boy like you to teach an old man like me to appreciate all the good things in life. I guess that’s what life’s all about'.”
So much now we as a culture just expect things to happen for us. That is the farthest thing from the truth and the scariest thing that we are teaching our kids. Work hard. Don't give up. When things get tough because they will, keep working.
"I sure do, Papa said, nodding his head. I believe a boy can have anything in life that he wants once he starts working for it. The main thing is not to give up. It makes no difference how tough things get, just bow your back, keep working, and put your heart and soul into it. As you go along your way, live a good clean life, don’t hurt anyone or anything, and always be honest. It doesn’t hurt to pray a little, too."
Dreams and Wishes
I love to dream. I love to make wishes. I love to pray for BIG things. That isn't enough though. We have to help the wish. That is the hardest part but also the best part. It shows and develops your true character.
"But I do believe that any wish you make can come true if you help the wish. I don’t think that the Lord meant for our lives to be so simple and easy that every time we wanted something, all we had to do was wish for it and we’d get it. I don’t believe that at all. If that were true, there would be a lot of lazy people in this old world. No one would be working. Everyone would be wishing for what they needed or wanted.”
This book was a great read. I highly recommend this book for any age. Would be a great book to read as a family.
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One day while searching for Sally Gooden, their runaway milk cow, Jay Berry finds a bunch of monkeys loose in the river bottom. Learning from Grandpa that the animals had escaped from a circus during a train wreck and that a reward was offered for them, Jay Berry sets out to capture them so he can get the money for his pony and rifle. With advice and help from Grandpa, he tries trapping them, but that fails. Next, he tries using a special butterfly net to catch them, but they attack and chase him home. Then he tries to be friendly, but he finds them at a still and they offer him sour mash that gets him drunk. After that, he and Grandpa try using coconuts and a trap cage, but the monkeys steal all the coconuts when they stop to get a drink at a spring. How can Jay Berry capture the monkeys? Will he ever get his pony and .22? Or is there something more important?
Author Wilson Rawls, whose most famous book is Where the Red Fern Grows, grew up on a small farm in the Cherokee Ozarks. We had seen a video of the 1998 Walt Disney film version of Summer of the Monkeys starring Wilford Brimley and Corey Sevier, and liked it. The book is certainly a funny and heartwarming story, not really about monkeys but primarily about Jay Berry's realization of what matters most in life. There are some common euphemisms (darn, heck, golly, and doggone it) and one place where Jay Berry heard some "cuss words" from men at his Grandpa's store, but no actual cuss words are used and Jay Berry says that he never used cuss words. Some might object to the scene where Jay Berry gets drunk, but it is an accident and he gets so sick that he decides never to drink alcohol again! There are references to tobacco use, probably consistent with the setting, but Bible reading and faith in God are an important part of the Lee's family life. And the multi-generational affection is very touching. Jay Berry tells his Grandpa, "Grandpa, we sure have a lot of fun together don't we?" Grandpa replies, "We surely do. You know, an old man like me can teach a young boy like you all the good things in life. But it takes a young boy like you to teach an old man like me to appreciate all the good things of life. I guess that's what life's all about." I found it a truly satisfying book.
I fell in love with it again and the kids were so interested in the story they often didn't want to get out of the car when we had reached our destination. We finished it last night and my husband and I had tears in our eyes during the final chapters.
This book is also a delight to read out loud. The language flows smoothly. The dialogue is realistic.