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
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
Read an Excerpt
An Excerpt from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of
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.