Jackson Jones is surrounded by three hundred wild apple trees and he needs to make them grow apples--thousands and thousands of apples. But what do he and his sisters and cousins know about pruning, irrigating and fertilizing? To say nothing of driving a tractor? With frostbitten fingers, stinking shoes and sore muscles, Jackson and his crew unexpectedly discover the lost art of winging it--and have the time of their lives. (jacket description)
Jackson is a 13 year old boy living in New Mexico during the 1980's and is offered an unbelieveable opportunity. If he succeeds at reviving a neglected apple orchard owned by an elderly neighbor into a healthy and prosperous one, she will give it to him for a price of $8,0000 and gets to keep any profits he makes. This sounds better than working at the local junkyard which his dad is fixing for him to do for the summer. Jackson and Mrs. Nelson sign an official agreement between the two and his challenge begins. He knows nothing about farming, apple growing or what to begin with first. After searching out a book from his school library, he realizes he needs plenty of help and recruits his sisters and cousins by offering them a percentage of the profits for their hard work. He does not tell them though of the agreement that he has with Mrs. Nelson. Jackson needs to learn many things on his own while facing struggles along the way. Not too many adults are eager to be helpful or become involved either. These parts made me sad but he was persistant enough to learn and accomplish them on his own. He bounces with every up and down thrown at him and working out solutions to many problems he ran into. What a group of hard-working and dedicated kids...........
I thought this was a great book! I found myself cheering them on and was eager to keep reading to see how it would end. This book also taught me plenty about apple farming that I never knew. There were times when the kids had to figure out how much items cost or how much they needed to sell to make enough money. Several math equations were worked into the writing as well. The author also included various illustrations, for example specific farming equipment, that I felt offered great visualization to something unfamiliar to young readers. The kids had so much determination and hard-work ethic that they make wonderful role models for readers and send the message that in order to succeed, you should never give up. It may even inspire some future entrepeneurs this summer. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 9 and up. ~
Title: The Year Money Grew on Trees
Author: Aaron Hawkins
Pub. Date: November 2010, Houghton Mifflin
Hardcover, 293 pgs.