The setting of Key West, Florida returns in FULL OF BEANS. Previously the author featured the setting in her the funny and endearing 2011 novel, TURTLE IN PARADISE. I spent a few days in Key West about ten years ago so the time period in the story of the Great Depression was a fascinating contrast. You can view a current slide show of images at keywest.com. It will give you a sense of life today before you read this new book.
Ten-year-old Beans Curry is a the narrator and he’s a kid you will grow to enjoy. His insights on life in Key West are honest though sometimes misguided. The town is in awful shape and his family is struggling. Beans tries to help out by doing odd jobs. Unfortunately a few are a bit on the illegal side, but one would probably do the same in Beans shoes–that is if he wore shoes.
Historical references to the Great Depression make this a must read. Child stars, Shirley Temple and Baby LeRoy, Florida and Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the Works Progress Administration artists are each woven into the story. The chapters fly by because it’s hard to put down a good story with humor.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 208
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise is beloved by readers, and now they can return to this wonderful world through the eyes of Turtle’s cousin Beans.
Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: FULL OF BEANS by Jennifer L. Holm
- Beans name is funny enough but it seems every kid in town has a nickname or an odd given name: Kermit, Johnny Cakes, Pork Chop, and Dot to name a few.
- This is what makes historical fiction a great way to learn about our past. Sure, you could read about the time period in a history book but when you have fun characters and a superb story, there’s no other way.
- I’m still giggling at the way Beans used his grandmother’s girdle to solve one of his problems.
- Beans has many visits to the local movie house where he watches young stars in black and white. Beans wants to be an actor, and with his personality he’d be a good one.
- The money making schemes are a sad reminder of the times, but they are a perfect reflection for modern day kids to compare to our always on world.
He was our resident writer. Apparently, he was famous. I’d started to read one of his books, but I couldn’t get past the second page.
JENNIFER L HOLM BIO (FROM her WEBSITE):
Jennifer L. Holm is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA, PENNY FROM HEAVEN, and TURTLE IN PARADISE. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series — the Eisner Award-winning Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. Her new novel is THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH. She lives in California with her husband and two children.
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Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.