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. Read more...
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.
As a storyteller, Holm is superb. School Library Journal
Holm impressively wraps pathos with comedy. Booklist
Anyone interested in learning to write crowd-pleasing historical fiction for elementary school readers would be wise to study Holm s work. Publishers Weekly, starred review
Sweet, funny and superb. Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review"
- ISBN-13: 9780553510362
- ISBN-10: 0553510363
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 208
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-16
- Reviewer: Staff
In this excellent prequel to the Newbery Honor–winning Turtle in Paradise, Holm recounts the origins of the Diaper Gang, the group of barefoot boys who have the run of Key West during the Great Depression. Their unofficial leader, Beans, narrates the arrival of the New Dealers who attempt to transform the poverty-stricken island into a tourist destination. Through Beans’s eyes, Holm captures the population’s economic distress (“Our town looked like a tired black-and-white movie”), with his father heading north to look for work, his mother’s hands “red and raw” from doing the neighbors’ laundry, and the ubiquitous “conch chowder.” To help his family, Beans ventures into a life of crime, setting false fire alarms to create diversions for Cuban rum smuggler Johnny Cakes; dire repercussions motivate him to make amends, igniting his latent leadership skills to the town’s benefit. Period details—like keeping Sears and Roebuck catalogues handy in outhouses, “marble mania,” people with leprosy hidden by their families, and the Shirley Temple craze—make for entertaining and illuminating historical fiction. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)