Summer of the Monkeys. Wilson Rawls

Publisher, Scholastic, 1989.  Awarded:  1979.

Synopsis:  Summer of the Monkeys is set in the heart of the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression.  It traces the life of Jay Berry Lee as he embarks on a hilarious adventure to capture a bunch of monkeys.

Themes:  Faith, Growing Up, Wishes coming true

Discussion Questions: Standard 3, Benchmark 3.

1. Jay Berry Lee's grandfather plays a very important role in the life of his grandson in Summer of the Monkeys.  Ask students to describe their relationship.  Why does Jay Berry's grandpa bring the crippled pony home?
2. Ask students to compare and contrast Billy Coleman's relationship with his three sisters to Jay Berry Lee's relationship to his little sister.  What role does each boy's family play in helping him realize his dream?
3. Ask students to describe each boy's family.
4. How might the Coleman and Lee family values be influenced by the Depression era?
5. How does his grandpa help the entire Lee family realize their dreams?


1. Engage the class in a discussion about hunting safety rules.  Ask each student to create a poster that illustrates on of the rules.  Display posters so that students throughout the school might be made aware of hunting safety.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2.

2. Jerry Berry Lee wins $100 by capturing the monkeys.  Divide the class into small groups and ask them to survey local banks and find out the interest rate on a passbook savings account.  Suppose a person deposits $100 in a savings account at the bank that has the best interest rate.  Calculate how much money the person would have in the bank after one year.  How much money would be in the account after five years?  Standard 3, Benchmark 3.

3. Ask the class to make a two-column chart.  List the many ways that Billy Coleman shows responsibility.  How does each boy's upbringing promote responsible behavior?  Standard 3, Benchmark 1.