Saturday, January 21, 2017

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls*

from the author Where the Red Fern Grows
Fourteen year old Jay Berry loves exploring in the Oklahoma's Cherokee Ozarks.  He dreams of owning a pony and a .22 so he can promptly traverse.   One day while he is in the Cherokee bottoms with his dog Rowdy,  they encounter something quite unusual in the tree.  He races off to his grandfather's store to share his odd experience.  From his grandfather he learns that a circus train wrecked and monkeys escaped from it!  The circus is offering a reward of two dollars for each monkey  plus one hundred dollars for the one chimp.  Jay Berry and his grandfather spend the summer devising plans to catch those monkeys.  Jay Berry knows he will soon own his pony and .22.
Then his character is tested as he considers his crippled sister.  His parents and grandparents have been saving money for an operation that would enable her to walk.  Readers will agonize with Jay Berry as he tries to decide how to spend his money.
*During the middle of the book, the action seemed a bit slow.  Also, the chapters are very long.  We rarely finished a chapter each night.
*Highly recommend.
-We own this book.
Grade Level Equivalent: 5.1
Warning/points to discuss: Grandfather chews tobacco and his "chewing" is depicted throughout the book.  Jay Berry and Rowdy get drunk from mash (not intentionally).  The author spends a chapter or two describing this event.  Mr. Rawls does not glamorize drinking and accurately depicts the effects of a hangover.  These chapters provided another opportunity to discuss with my boys about alcohol and getting drunk.

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