Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns [NOOK Book]


Nothing but a big mess of trouble and weeds..

That's what Jackson Jones thinks of the garden plot his mother gives him for his tenth birthday. What happened to the basketball he's hoped and prayed for all year?

When Jackson comes up with a moneymaking scheme for the garden, it doesn't seem so bad after all. He even cuts his friends in on the action. But before long, Jackson...
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Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns

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Nothing but a big mess of trouble and weeds..

That's what Jackson Jones thinks of the garden plot his mother gives him for his tenth birthday. What happened to the basketball he's hoped and prayed for all year?

When Jackson comes up with a moneymaking scheme for the garden, it doesn't seem so bad after all. He even cuts his friends in on the action. But before long, Jackson finds out that friends and business don't always mix. When the neighborhood bully calls him "Bouquet Jones," Jackson is ready to give up. Maybe gardens don't belong in cities after all....

Winner of the first annual Marguerite de Angeli Prize.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

When his mother gives him a garden plot for his tenth birthday, Jackson Jones hopes to earn enough money to buy a basketball, but all he seems to get is trouble.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Every success story has a beginning,'' opens this story, winner of the publisher's first annual prize for middle grade fiction. ``But I wonder if those great folks knew when they had taken the first step down that road. Like there was a sign: GREATNESS--Next Right.'' Quattlebaum's first-person narrator, Jackson Jones, hooks readers at the start with his humorous, street-smart style. Jackson can hardly believe it when his mother buys him a plot in the community garden for his birthday instead of a basketball. But then the resourceful 10-year-old devises a plan: he will grow flowers to please Mama, then sell them and buy himself a basketball. Unfortunately, tending a garden and starting a business is no bed of roses, and Jackson winds up having to dig himself out of some real trouble. But Jackson finally gets what he wants, and when he looks back, he realizes that ``mixed in with trouble was some good garden stuff.'' A host of colorful characters and their lively banter keep the bloom on these pages. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 6-10. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Jackson Jones, an upbeat, urban African-American boy, is certain that his mother will give him a new basketball for his 10th birthday. Therefore, he is shocked-and terrified about what it will do to his reputation-when she gives him a plot in the community garden and 10 dollars to spend on seeds and tools. Not one to sulk, though, Jackson comes up with the idea of planting roses and zinnias in time for his mother to enjoy them on her birthday, and then selling them to earn money for the coveted basketball. Setbacks in his budding business; a falling out with his best friend; being teased by a bully; and dealing with a conniving, prickly six-year-old neighbor add the necessary tension and humor and move the plot along at a swift pace, until the final, satisfying conclusion. By the end, this young entreprenuer has learned a lot about friendship and human nature. Quattlebaum has created a winning cast of characters-both children and adults- and a savvy young hero who readers will like-and respect. A terrific read-aloud or read-alone, with easy-to-read sentences, large type, and great dialogue.-Trev Jones, School Library Journal
Hazel Rochman
Fast-paced and funny, this warm, affectionate novel about an inner-city neighborhood is the first winner of the publisher's annual Marguerite de Angeli prize for middle-grade fiction that reflects diversity. Jackson Jones tells his story in a wry contemporary voice, sometimes cool, sometimes desperate. He badly wants a basketball for his tenth birthday. Instead, his single-parent mom gives him a plot in the community garden, along with money for seeds, manure, and tools. He feels "flattened like a basketball hit by a Mack truck." He and his friends work out a plan to harvest the flowers for cash, but the garden turns out to be boring, hard work ("mud, plants, water . . . Lean, pull, toss"), and it seems to grow nothing but trouble and weeds. The story has a few surprising twists, but the real pleasure here is in the characters--from grandmothers to kids of all ages--and their lively talk. Jackson's mother worries that he doesn't have male role models; but there is Mailbags Mosely down the hall, who is working full-time and going to college. Then there's the school bully who sneers at Jackson and calls him Bouquet Jones. Jackson finds no neat answers. What he does find is community, a garden in the city that stretches far and wide. Rosales' jacket illustration of a smiling Jackson will lure kids to the ebullient story.
From the Publisher
“Quattlebaum has created a winning cast of characters—both children and adults—and a savvy young hero who readers will like—and respect.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“Smart, snappy dialogue and characters both funny and admirable.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Quattlebaum’s first person narrative hooks readers at the start with his humorous street-smart style.”—Publishers Weekly

“A promising first novel, this is fresh, sweet, and vigorous—a real daisy.”—The Bulletin

A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book

A Parenting Best Children’s Book

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307421470
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 510L (what's this?)
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

"I grew up with three brothers and three sisters and many, many pets and I often draw on childhood adventures (and misadventures) in creating stories and poems. My current everyday life also provides lots of inspiration for my writing. For example, my first book, Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns blossomed (pun intended!) from my small plot in a city community garden where, like Jackson, the main character, I seem to grow more weeds than flowers.

"The hamster in Jazz, Pizzazz, and the Silver Threads is based on several real-life, mischievous hamsters. The ideas for Jenny's magic 'mess-ups' in Jazz, Pizzazz and its forthcoming sequel, The Magic Squad and the Dog of Great Potential, come from my husband's experiences as a kid magician. And the poems for A Year on My Street are all based on the people and happenings in my neighborhood, from feeding pigeons to listening to the sax man.

"Before becoming a freelance writer, I worked as a research writer/editor for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. These days, in addition to writing children's books, I direct Arts Project Renaissance, a creative writing program for older adults, and teach creative writing workshops to folks of all ages at local schools, libraries, and Georgetown University's continuing education division."

Mary Quattlebaum's first book, Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns, is the winner of the first annual Marguerite de Angeli Prize for middle-grade fiction. She has also written Jazz, Pizzazz, and the Silver Threads; its companion, The Magic Squad and the Dog of Great Potential, to be published in March 1997; and A Year on My Street, a First Choice Chapter Book for younger readers. She received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Georgetown University. Recipient of the Novel in Progress/Judy Blume Grant from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, she has been published in Children's Digest and Ladybug, as well as several literary magazines. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband.

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Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of

        April 10.

        Jackson-Jones-Born-into-This-World Day. I was moving from nine to almost
        grown. Double digits. The Big 1-0. The Man (that's me) is TEN.

        My best friend, Reuben, was impressed. He's nine and counting. One hundred
        and thirty-two days till he's ten.

        "What ya going to get for your birthday?" he asked. He sketched the star
        on Captain Nemo's helmet. I was sprawled on his bed.

        I shrugged, acting cool. Like saying, "Oh, is it my birthday?"
        Acting like I didn't know Mama was rattling my favorite Red Velvet cake
        into the oven. HOPEFULLY wrapping a new basketball....

        "There's one more," said Mama.

        Mama held the envelope like a little white bird. Stuffed with money, I
        couldn't help thinking.

        "Ten years ago," said Mama, stroking the bird-money, "God gave me
        a present: my son, Jackson. Each year I grow prouder of him."

        I was cool, just taking it in. Thinking about slam-dunking my new b-ball.

        "I always wanted Jackson to have the kind of childhood I had," Mama continued.

        Wait a minute. Mama had no basketball in that country childhood. Her best
        friend lived seven miles away.

        Mama handed me the envelope. Her eyes were all misty-happy.

        "Jackson, I hope you enjoy this gift as much as I enjoyed mine as a girl."

        Forget slooowwly. I snatched the envelope. Clawed the flap.

        I drew out the card. Opened it.

        I couldn't believe what I saw.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013


    Quickly climb up a tree and swiftly kills a bird. Next she sees a squirrel on the next tree she jumps on to the next tree and quietly crreps up and kills the squirrel. She two mice coming out of their nests so she creeps up from behind and grabs both of them one in each claw she quickly snaps the necks. Last she creeeps around the forest and sees a rabbit leaving its burrow so she quickly climbs up a tree and drops from behind cracking its neck in one swift bite

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013


    "Im telling you silversky.. lemonpaw is ready.."

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