Turtle in Paradise

by Jennifer L. Holm

During the Depression, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to live with her Aunt Minnie... read more

During the Depression, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to live with her Aunt Minnie in Key West after her mother’s employer makes it clear that she doesn’t like children (her mother is a live-in domestic). Turtle spends her time with her boy cousins—Beans, Buddy, and Kermit—and their friends who run a babysitting service called the Diaper Gang, carting around neighborhood babies and selling their homemade diaper-rash ointment. Strong and quick-witted, Turtle is able to keep up with the gang, even if they consider her an outsider. Their daily adventures are varied, and these independent kids are capable and competent, though one senses that the adults, as busy as they are, are watching out for them in one way or another. As Turtle starts to embrace her extended family and new surroundings, she makes interesting discoveries about her relatives and her identity. And when the Diaper Gang goes on a treasure hunt, the story reaches an adventurous climax. Reality comes crashing down quickly with the return of Turtle’s mother and her boyfriend, Archie, but a surprising twist grounds this humorous and exciting story in the warmth of family. Jennifer L. Holm richly depicts personalities and setting in a novel that, she explains in an author’s note with photos, is inspired by her own family’s history. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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