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Summer of the Monkeys

Summer of the Monkeys

4.3 121
by Wilson Rawls

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Monkeys Out In The Middle Of Nowhere Staring At Him!

A tree full of monkeys the last thing fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee thought he'd find on one of his treks through Oklahoma's Cherokee Ozarks. Jay learns from his grandfather that the monkeys have escaped from a circus and there is a big reward for anyone who finds them. He knows how much his family


Monkeys Out In The Middle Of Nowhere Staring At Him!

A tree full of monkeys the last thing fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee thought he'd find on one of his treks through Oklahoma's Cherokee Ozarks. Jay learns from his grandfather that the monkeys have escaped from a circus and there is a big reward for anyone who finds them. He knows how much his family needs the money. Jay is determined to catch the monkeys. It's a summer of thrills and dangers no one will ever forget.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Bantam Starfire Books Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.66(w) x 5.16(h) x 0.72(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Up until I was fourteen years old, no boy on earth could have been happier. I didn't have a worry in the world. In fact, I was beginning to think that it wasn't going to be hard at all for me to grow up. But just when things were really looking good for me, something happened. I got mixed up with a bunch of monkeys and all of my happiness flew right out the window. Those monkeys all but drove me out of my mind.

If I had kept this monkey trouble to myself, I don't think it would have amounted to much; but I got my grandpa mixed up in it. I felt pretty bad about that because Grandpa was my pal, and all he was trying to do was help me.

I even coaxed Rowdy, my old bluetick hound, into helping me with this monkey trouble. He came out of the mess worse than Grandpa and I did. Rowdy got so disgusted with me, monkeys, and everything in general, he wouldn't even come out from under the house when I called him.

It was in the late 1800s, the best I can remember. Anyhow—at the time, we were living in a brand-new country that had just been opened up for settlement. The farm we lived on was called Cherokee land because it was smack dab in the middle of the Cherokee Nation. It lay in a strip from the foothills of the Ozark Mountains to the banks of the Illinois River in northeastern Oklahoma. This was the last place in the world that anyone would expect to find a bunch of monkeys.

I wasn't much bigger than a young possum when Mama and Papa settled on the land; but after I grew up a little, Papa told me all about it. How he and Mama hadn't been married very long, and were sharecropping in Missouri. They were unhappy, too; because in those days, being asharecropper was just about as bad as being a hog thief. Everybody looked down on you.

Mama and Papa were young and proud, and to have people look down on them was
almost more than they could stand. They stayed to themselves, kept on sharecropping,
and saving every dollar they could; hoping that someday they could buy a farm of their

Just when things were looking pretty good for Marna and Papa, something happened.
Mama hauled off and had twins—my little sister Daisy and me.

Papa said that I was born first, and he never saw a healthier boy. I was as pink as a sunburnt huckleberry, and as lively as a young squirrel in a corncrib. It was different with Daisy though. Somewhere along the line something went wrong and she was born
with her right leg all twisted up.

The doctor said there wasn't much wrong with Daisy's old leg. It had something to do with the muscles, leaders, and things like that, being all tangled up. He said there were doctors in Oklahoma City that could take a crippled leg and straighten it out as straight as a ramrod. This would cost quite a bit of money though; and money was the one thing that Mama and Papa didn't have.

Mama cried a lot in those days, and she prayed a lot, too; but nothing seemed to do any good. It was bad enough to be stuck there on that sharecropper's farm; but to have a little daughter and a twisted leg, and not be able to do anything for her, hurt worst of all.

Then one day, right out of a clear blue sky, Mama got a letter from Grandpa. She read it and her face turned as white as the bark on a sycamore tree. She sat right down on the dirt floor of our sod house and started laughing and crying all at the same time. Papa said that after he had read the letter, it was all he could do to keep from bawling a little, too.

Grandpa and Grandma were living down in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. They owned one of those big old country stores that had everything in it. Grandpa wasn't only a storekeeper; he was a trader, too, and a good one. Papa always said that Grandpa was the only honest trader he ever knew that could trade a terrapin out of its shell.

In his letter, Grandpa told Mama and Papa that he had done some trading with a Cherokee Indian for sixty acres of virgin land, and that it was theirs if they wanted it. All they had to do was come down and make a farm out of it. They could pay him for it any way they wanted to.

Well, the way Mama was carrying on, there wasn't but one thing Papa could do. The next morning, before the roosters started crowing, he took what money they had saved and headed for town. He bought a team of big red Missouri mules and a covered wagon. Then he bought a turning plow, some seed corn, and a milk cow. This took about all the money he had.

It was way in the night when Papa got back home. Mama hadn't even gone to bed. She had everything they owned packed, and was ready to go. They were both so eager to get away from that sharecropping farm that they started loading the wagon by moonlight.

The last thing Papa did was to make a two-baby cradle. He took Mama's old washtub and tied a short piece of rope to each handle. To give the cradle a little bit of bounce, he tied the ropes to two cultivator springs and hung the whole contraption to the bows inside the covered wagon.

Mama thought that old washtub was the best baby cradle she had ever seen. She filled it about half full of corn shucks and quilts, and then put Daisy and me down in it.

After taking one last look at the sod house, Papa cracked the whip and they left Missouri for the Oklahoma Territory.

From the Paperback edition.

Copyright 1998 by Wilson Rawls

Meet the Author

Wilson Rawls grew up on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. There were no schools where he lived so his mother taught Rawls and his sisters how to read and write. He says that reading the book The Call of the Wild changed his life and gave him the notion that he would like to grow up to write a book like it. He shared his dream with his father, and his father gave him the encouraging advice, "Son, a man can do anything he sets out to do, if he doesn't give up." Rawls never forgot his father's words, and went on to create two novels about his boyhood that have become modern classics.

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Summer of the Monkeys 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 117 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like "old" books and i read it when i was 8 and now im twelve and decided to read it once more its a really good book that is clean and exciting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer of the Monkeys By Wilson Rawl's One boy one problem. In Wilson Rawl's Summer of the Monkeys Jay Berry has a problem. One day he is walking through the river bottoms and he sees a monkey! A real life monkey! So Jay Berry tells his grandpa and finds out these are circus monkeys. Grandpa says that the train that the monkeys were on crashed down by the bottoms and about 30 monkeys escaped. They are even worth money! Well it is back in the old days so the little monkeys are worth $2 and the BIG monkey is worth $100!!! Cha! Ching! Jay Berry has to catch those monkeys! Read the book to see how Jay Berry catches those monkeys. I would recommend this book to 3rd grade and up. This book is full of laugh out loud things. I like this book because it is hilarious.
Zennia More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. Anyone at any age would enjoy it. It is funny and light hearted with a wonderful story and a sweet ending. I loved this book. I enjoyed it so much I have sent it to my grandaugters. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did.
Just_Learning More than 1 year ago
I am currently reading this to my boys. They are loving it! They actually laugh out loud! It's a classic story about a boy and his dog trying to catch some circus monkeys that escaped from a train wreck. They have quite the experiences as they go head-to-head with the "$100 monkey"! I highly suggest this book to kids of any age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this in third grade and now im in 6th grade. I remember reading the book then watching the movie. Its like 200 pgs. But a awesome book!! Id recomand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I love it . It is so funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 6th grade it was ok but would have been better in a littler grade i read this book in couple hours
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie was so gooooood:) and as we all know the books are always the best and,that is true:):):):):):):):):):):):):)
Daniel Huff More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books i have ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this to my 4 children ages 5 to 12. They get to laughing so hard! Sometimes I can hardly read when I get the giggles too. The movie is great too but the book is obviously better. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember having to read this when i was in fifth grade. I despised reading back then, so i did not enjoy the book. However, thinking back on it, i think that it was a good book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My brother said he would read this book over the summer but he never did seems like a boring book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another classic by Wilson Rawls. This is an amazing funny book that I seriously recommend for ages 9 and up
Christy Salyer More than 1 year ago
this book is so hilarious i loved every minute of it a great classic for kids annd adults
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Summer of the Monkeys is a hilarious book about monkeys who escape from the circus. Jay Berry is trying to catch them so he can buy himself a pony and a gun, a .45 (whatever that means). Jay¿s grandfather helps him come up with a variety of clever schemes to catch the monkeys. Each time, however, the monkeys manage to evade being caught because they are smarter than expected. When they escape it leads to a whirlwind of funny events, such as drunken monkeys and monkey attacks. The setting is in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in the late 1800s. I would consider this book a comedy because it is really funny. The theme of this book is about life in general and shows that sometimes you have to sacrifice things you really want in order to help others. I can¿t tell exactly what I mean by this because it will give away the ending. Other lessons it teaches are responsibility and commitment. This book is about growing up and throughout the book Jay is going from a boy to a man. He starts taking responsibility for his actions and thinking before he acts. I like this book because it always keeps you wondering. There is always an air of danger because Daisy (Jay¿s sister) loves to make up stories to scare Jay. Also, throughout the book, when Jay¿s grandfather comes up with crazy ways to catch the monkeys, you are rooting for Jay to catch them, but you also want the monkeys to get away because it is so funny and you want to know what other crazy, clever schemes his Grandfather will come up with. I really liked this book because it keeps you on the edge of you seat and it is as though you are there with Jay trying to catch the monkeys. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes the outdoors and is a laid back person because it is definitely not a serious book. I would also recommend other books by this author because I liked how he makes you feel as if you are there in the novel with Jay. I really like the humor too.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Both books are amazing summer of the monkeys my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Meaniur the best teacher read it to the class And lent me it catie.k
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer of the monkeys was a book I had to read in class, that I did not enjoy. Also do not read where the red fern grows.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recomend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This such a great book
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