Full of Beans

by Jennifer L. Holm

“I’m gonna give it to you straight: grown-ups lie.” In the midst... read more

“I’m gonna give it to you straight: grown-ups lie.” In the midst of the Great Depression in Key West, Florida, Beans Curry roams the town. Sometimes he’s in charge of his baby brother; sometimes he prowls with his gang, looking to challenge their rivals to a serious game of marbles. The arrival of a New Dealer who hopes to transform Key West into a vacation spot is met with a good deal of skepticism, at least initially. But many adults end up volunteering to pick up garbage and paint the houses in bright, cheery colors to beautify the town. All the activity creates an opportunity for Beans to earn money, sorely needed at home, when a local liquor runner hires him to pull fire alarms in the middle of the night. Beans’s work creates a distraction so the man can smuggle his coffins full of booze down to the docks and out of town. It seems like easy money until Beans’s conscience gets the best of him. An easy, breezy, entertaining novel not only chronicles how Key West was transformed into a travel destination, it also serves as a prequel to Turtle in Paradise, and explains how the inimitable Beans formed the Diaper Gang. A wonderful author’s note with historical photos tells more about the New Deal efforts in Key West, including the role children played. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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