Turtle in Paradise. Jennifer L. Holm. 2010. Random House. 208 pages.
Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafters, but I've lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten. The only difference between grown-ups and kids is that grown-ups go to jail for murder. Kids get away with it.
There are so many things to love about Turtle in Paradise. I loved the narrator, Turtle. I loved the characterization and the storytelling. I loved the writing. (Jennifer Holm has a way with words!) I loved the setting: Key West, Florida, 1930s. I loved the little details that help a reader feel settled in a specific time and place. In this case, Turtle's love of comics (like Little Orphan Annie and Terry and the Pirates) and radio dramas (the Shadow) and her dislike of Shirley Temple.
The book stars an eleven year old, Turtle, who is moving from Pennsylvania to Florida. She is meeting her mother's family for the first time. She's coming to stay with her aunt and her cousins. (Her mom is staying behind with the new boyfriend and the new job.) It's a "surprise" visit too. Minnie has no idea her sister is sending her daughter to stay with her. Will Turtle fit in with her cousins Buddy, Beans, and Kermit? Will she get along with Aunt Minnie? And what about her grandmother?! Turtle didn't even know she had a grandmother living until she settled into her new life. Will Turtle find a way to open up with this new family, and make a place for herself in this new community? Will she find a way to be in the Diaper Gang even if she is a girl?
I would definitely recommend this one. I think it would make a great read aloud. It's got heart, humor, and adventure!
My favorite quotes:
Kids lie. We have to or we'd never get anything. But grown-ups lie, too--they just do it differently. They leave things out; they don't give you the whole story. (51)
In my opinion, the fellas who make Hollywood pictures are really just salesmen. Instead of peddling girdles, they sell thrills and chills, and folks eat them up. Not me, though. I'm no sucker. I know there's no such thing as giant apes climbing skyscrapers or mummies walking out of tombs. But just try telling that to the boys. (123)
It's a fact: if a kid is being nice, he's probably up to no good. (131)
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews