Summer of the Monkeys
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2010)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Where The Red Fern Grows|
Summer of the Monkeys is a 1976 children's novel written by Wilson Rawls. The book was published by Doubleday (later released by Yearling Books) and was the winner of the William Allen White Book Award and the California Young Reader Medal.
Summer of the Monkeys is set at the end of the nineteenth century. Its hero is a fourteen-year-old boy, Jay Berry Lee, who had enjoyed an idyllic childhood. Born to Missouri sharecroppers, he moves with his family to Oklahoma after his grandfather offers them free land. Daisy, his twin, has a crippled leg, and her family devotes much effort to gaining enough money to pay for reconstructive surgery. One day, while looking for the family's lost milk cow, Jay Berry discovers monkeys in a nearby river bottom. Visiting his grandfather's store, he learns that the monkeys have escaped from a travelling circus, which has offered a vast reward for their capture: $100 for the chief monkey, "Jimbo", and $2 per monkey for the others. Jay Berry makes multiple attempts to capture the monkeys using traps and a net borrowed from his grandfather, but he gains only scratches and bites from the hostile Jimbo and his minions.
Under the direction of his grandfather, Jay Berry contacts the circus and is advised to attempt to befriend Jimbo. Upon returning to the monkeys' grove, he finds them around a hidden still; the drunken monkeys indeed befriend him, but their gesture of friendship is a gift of whiskey that leaves Jay Berry drunken. After returning to his shocked family, he goes with his grandfather to a nearby town to visit a library and discover alternate methods of monkey-catching. Having bought supplies, they return home, but the monkeys steal the supplies.
Daisy discovers a fairy ring, and believing it capable of granting wishes, secretly wishes that her brother may be able to buy the pony and rifle that he has long desired. Soon afterward, a fierce storm frightens the monkeys into accompanying Jay Berry into captivity, and he quickly returns them to the circus for his reward. Although he considers buying a pony and rifle, he chooses instead to finance his sister's surgery. By the conclusion, Daisy and his grandfather have accumulated enough money to buy him the rifle and pony.
The book was made into a direct to video movie in 1998 by Buena Vista Home Video, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. It was directed by Michael Anderson and starred Corey Sevier as Jay Berry Lee and Wilford Brimley as Grandpa. The movie takes place in rural Canada. The film featured Canadian Pacific Railway 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive #2024, the Circus train in the film. C.P.R 2024 was an American Locomotive in the late 19th century, C.P.R 2024 was originally US Army Locomotive #4076.