Summer of the Monkeys

Dipping into some recommended favorite children’s books this week, I pounced on Summer of the Monkeys, an easy read about a family on a farm in the 1800s where Jay Berry wants a pony and a .22 gun more than anything else in the world. He stumbles onto a cache of monkeys escaped from a circus train derailment, finds they are worth $2 apiece or $100 for the chimpanzee. With help from his esteemed grandpa, he sets traps which are foiled by the chimp. Jimbo the chimp steals Jay’s “britches” and gets him drunk on sourmash at a local still in the woods. Eventually a big storm blows in which terrifies the domesticated monkeys and they’re led docilely back to the farmhouse. Jay’s twin sister Daisy has a crippled leg and after much deliberation, Jay gives his monkey money to help her get an operation. He ends up with his own reward at the end. Sweet, slightly cloyingly so, but enjoyable if you’re a young-un. Written by the author of Where the Red Fern Grows. Yes, that is an awful awful cover; apparently they made a movie and Wilfred Brimley stars as the grandpa.