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Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns

Written by Mary QuattlebaumAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mary Quattlebaum


· Yearling
· eBook · July 1, 2009 · $5.99 · 978-0-307-42147-0 (0-307-42147-3)
Also available as a trade paperback.

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An Excerpt from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of
        Thorns


        April 10.

        Jackson-Jones-Born-into-This-World Day. I was moving from nine to almost
        grown. Double digits. The Big 1-0. The Man (that's me) is TEN.

        My best friend, Reuben, was impressed. He's nine and counting. One hundred
        and thirty-two days till he's ten.

        "What ya going to get for your birthday?" he asked. He sketched the star
        on Captain Nemo's helmet. I was sprawled on his bed.

        I shrugged, acting cool. Like saying, "Oh, is it my birthday?"
        Acting like I didn't know Mama was rattling my favorite Red Velvet cake
        into the oven. HOPEFULLY wrapping a new basketball....

        "There's one more," said Mama.

        Mama held the envelope like a little white bird. Stuffed with money, I
        couldn't help thinking.

        "Ten years ago," said Mama, stroking the bird-money, "God gave me
        a present: my son, Jackson. Each year I grow prouder of him."

        I was cool, just taking it in. Thinking about slam-dunking my new b-ball.

        "I always wanted Jackson to have the kind of childhood I had," Mama continued.

        Wait a minute. Mama had no basketball in that country childhood. Her best
        friend lived seven miles away.

        Mama handed me the envelope. Her eyes were all misty-happy.

        "Jackson, I hope you enjoy this gift as much as I enjoyed mine as a girl."

        Forget slooowwly. I snatched the envelope. Clawed the flap.

        I drew out the card. Opened it.

        I couldn't believe what I saw.

        


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpted from Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns by Mary Quattlebaum Copyright © 1995 by Mary Quattlebaum. Excerpted by permission of Yearling, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.