- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; DGS REP edition (December 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780375836909
- ISBN-13: 978-0375836909
- ASIN: 037583690X
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 229 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#13,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #32 in Books > Children's Books > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > United States > 1900s
- #62 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Family Life > Multigenerational
- #580 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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Turtle in Paradise Paperback – December 27, 2011
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Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2010:
“Sweet, funny and superb”
Starred Review, Booklist, April 15, 2010:
"Turtle is just the right mixture of knowingness and hope; the plot is a hilarious blend of family dramas seasoned with a dollop of adventure."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly:
"This humorous adventure effectively portrays Turtle as caught between her mother's Hollywood-inspired dreams and the very real family . . . that offer a different kind of paradise."
Review, School Library Journal, April 2010:
"This richly detailed novel was inspired by Holm’s great-grandmother’s stories. Readers who enjoy melodic, humorous tales of the past won’t want to miss it."
About the Author
JENNIFER L. HOLM is the New York Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor Books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse and Squish series which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm.
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229 customer reviews
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Since my 5th grade students are mostly first-generation kids from low-income immigrant homes, they connected with this book. Family separation, relatives you never knew you had, kids as caretakers for other family members, poverty, adjusting and readjusting your dreams to fit reality, being grateful for a terrible job because it's the only one you can get. All of these elements rang true for my students. We also got to learn a little about the Great Depression--a period of history most had never studied--and about Key West--where none of them have ever been.
Although they were skeptical at first, my students (both male and female) found a lot to love in this book!
I believe this book, though it falls within the middle-grade range, is better suited for younger readers who are just discovering the magic of chapter books. It will make them eager to continue their reading adventures!
It is 1935, and Turtle's mom got a job as a housekeeper for a woman who wouldn't let Turtle and her cat live with them, so she and Smokey were sent to Key West to live with her mother's sister. While there, Turtle has to quickly adapt to island life, from checking your shoes for scorpions to the odd nicknames everyone seems to have. Her mischievous cousins, Kermit, Beans, and Buddy, spice up the story with their antics. Beans and a few other local kids have started the Diaper Gang, who are basically roving babysitters for the Bad Babies. And their secret diaper rash formula is legendary on the island!
When Turtle finds out her grandmother is really alive (even though her mother told her she was dead), she realizes there is more of her own history on this island than she could have imagined. When she finds a treasure map to a hidden pirate's treasure, she takes the gang along with her on an adventure that changes them and the island in more ways that one.
This is the kind of story that has you giggling out loud and loving every page. It is a short enough story so as not to be too overwhelming for beginning readers. The writing is perfect for higher skilled elementary students to low-skilled middle school students, but even high school students would get a kick out of these kids and their goofiness. I know I did!
The fact that it is based on the author's grandmother and her life in Key West makes the story even more interesting. At the end of the book, there are a few pages where the author explains which parts of the story are based on real situations. She even includes pictures of places and people mentioned in the story! This is a cute little book that spans a great spectrum of interest. Give it a shot! It is a great beach read that you can finish in a sitting!