Every summer I get lost in books. Sometimes there is one that sticks with me for a long time. A very long time. This summer I read Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. I can’t let go of the words, the feeling, the pictures in my head (just like I tell my preschoolers).
Whenever I read a new book, first I flip to the back cover to read about the author and the illustrator. Wilson Rawls wrote a classic, Where the Red Fern Grows. He grew up in the Midwest, and he did not have access to books until he was in high school. I was stunned. His writing is fluid. His words are a quiver of arrows, shot to the heart.
Jay Berry Lee and his family move to Oklahoma at the end of the nineteenth century. Life is good, full of hard work and the beauty of the land. Jay Berry and his dog discover some monkeys in a nearby river bottom, and the story takes off. Oh, how it takes off. I did not expect to be pulled in. Yet, I was on the farm. With the dog. And especially with Grandpa.
Have you ever read one line, one statement in a book, that knocked you off your feet? This one from Summer of the Monkeys did just that:
“It was the inside of my grandpa that really counted. He had a heart as big as a number four washtub; and inside that wrinkled old hide of his was enough boy-understanding for all the boys in the world.”
Words are magic, aren’t they? The take us to places, make us understand, make us laugh and cry. When words are well crafted, they leave a ‘forever’ mark. E.B. White’s words do that. Kate DiCamillo’s words do that. So do Wilson Rawls’ words.
If you love boys and dogs, Grandpas, incredible adventures, and one of the best stories written, I recommend Summer of the Monkeys.
My 6th grade teacher read this to us. Still love this book and I am planning to read to my kids. Thanks for sharing your review.
Thanks for sharing your story. I’ll bet you remember this as clear as day. I’m glad you’re planning on reading it to your kids. Makes my day!
I do remember it so well. She actually read us Where the Red Fern Grows also. Nothing like a room full of crying sixth graders. 😊
I haven’t heard of this book, but I’ll definitely check it out.
Thanks, Jennie. 🙂
I hadn’t either. I’d only heard of Where the Red Fern Grows.
I remember “Where The Red Fern Grows” but had not heard of this one. Too many book, too little time. I’ll look for it. Thanks.
I know what you mean, Marlene. Summer is when I have more time to read. I wish there were more hours in the day. I had only heard of Where the Red Fern Grows, too. This one is outstanding.
Love the excerpt. Sounds like a memorable book.
Thanks, Darlene. That excerpt swept me off my feet. It’s as good as Where the Red Fern Grows. Best to you!
You picked a fine quote, Jennie. I seem to fit the ‘target market for this one’. Dog, Grandpa, and Grandson. This is one for when he’s a little older.
Best wishes, Pete.
It certainly made an impact on me. What a nice feeling to realize that it is actually part of you. Best to you, Pete.
Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out the book, Summer of Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls, as recommended in this post on A Teacher’s Reflection blog.
Thank you for reblogging, Don!
The only kid I can read this too is me and that’s what I shall do!
Wonderful, Sarah! 🙂
That sounds like a nice recommendation – excellent review, Jennie.
Thank you, Dan.
Words are magical indeed! And I know exactly the feeling you so beautifully described, Jennie. 😄And thanks for the tip, I will make sure to put it on my reading list! 😄
This does sound wonderful. I’m going to see if it’s available at my local library.
Let me know what you think. 🙂
Thank you for the recommendation. I’ve added to my “want to read” list. 😊
I’m so glad! 🙂
Thanks for the tip, Jennie!
You’re welcome, John!
This sounds like a marvellous story, Jennie. I am going to order it right away.
That’s great, Robbie. Let me know what you think. 🙂
Words as magical as grandpas. 🙂 Thanks for a lovely review, Jennie. Hugs on the wing!
I’m glad you liked it, Teagan. 😊
This looks great.Thanks for sharing,Jennie.
You are welcome!
Your description of how books take us into their worlds, and how certain combinations of words by writers can resonate in you forever, is so very, very true.
Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. And yes, it is very true.
This was one that a sixth grader read and did a fine book report on, when I was a half year sub at a middle school for Language Arts teacher. (early ’90’s)
It fascinated me, wondering if fantasy had somehow merged with realistic fiction, Jennie. 😀
It seems like it could be fantasy, and perhaps that’s what makes a sixth grader want to read the book. Then, they discover it is realistic fiction. And they get a big dose of life learning, too. Sigh! 🙂
A marvelous plot and always good to have a “big dose of life learning,” too. I am glad you shared this interpretation of a great book, Jennie. 🙂
Thank you, Robin. I’m glad you enjoyed the read, and the interpretation. Happy Sunday! 🙂
That quote is so rich with love, Jennie. Love it. The book sounds wonderful. Happy Reading. 🙂
Thank you, Diana. This will sound corny: the scene in the first Harry Potter movie when he holds the wand- that’s how I felt when I read the quote in the book.
I love that. The power of books!!! They can reach out into our core us at any age.
Oh God, Jennie I love this! And it is amazing how a few sentences in a good book can go right into our hearts!! That excerpt certainly did. Thank you for sharing, reminded me how much I love to read fiction. And I swear I remember Where the Red Fern Grows, though I can’t place it right now.
Bless you Jennie! And love to your kids…. I really enjoyed this post. Debbie
Thanks, Debbie. It really is amazing how powerful words can be. So glad you enjoyed this. My best to you! 🙂
Words are magic indeed.
Your description of how books exact us into their worlds, and how certain(p) combinations of words by writers can resonate in you forever, is so very, very true(p). It really is awesome how knock-down(a) words can be.
I’ve known about this book for years but never really heard anyone talk about it, about how good it is. Thanks for doing so, it’s going on my to-read list!
It was new to me, and I’m so glad I read it. What a winner! Happy reading.
“Where the Red Fern Grows” Saw the movie, loved it. Know the book is better. Summer of Monkeys is a book I will need to check out. Thanx!
Speaking of incredible journeys…. you ever read “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield?
Wonderful adventure/journey in Peru, which became a series. I started the reads in the late 1990’s. 😀 In fact, those writings were a HUGE early threshold, to my current life journey.
Thanks, Ren. I haven’t read this. Sounds wonderful!
Reblogged this on Notes from An Alien and commented:
Today’s re-blog goes back to last summer—for those freezing in the northern hemisphere…
Thank you for reblogging. Always ah honor!