Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm
Turtle and her mom have always gotten through tough times together, but now that mom is employed as a live-in maid for a woman who doesn’t like kids, Turtle is sent to live with relatives in Key West. It’s the middle of the depression, and many folks don’t have much, but Turtle is still surprised by the poverty on this little stretch of land. Almost as surprised as she is by finding all of her long-lost relations. With the sea and the trees to provide, the families get by — even if shoes are a rarity — and there is even some fun to be had in seeking payment of sweets for babysitting. There are also literal treasures to be found, for those crazy, brave and bored enough to seek them. And along with her cousins, Turtle finds herself right in the middle of all of the adventures. Turtle’s family situation and a terrifying hurricane give weight to the lighter touch of the book. But it’s the light touch that makes this book special for bringing out the depth and feel of the characters without weighing them down in their poor and/or uncertain surrounding. The people and places jump off the page with such a sense of being there. I can picture the kids pulling the wagon around as if I had watched a movie of it — which, by the way, there should be one. In any case, an enjoyable read that exposes a lost place in time.
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