Rating: 1-5: 5
Genre: Historical fiction
What did you like about the book? The Depression has hammered the residents of Key West, Florida, including ten-year-old narrator Beans Curry. The town is bankrupt; the garbage men haven’t been paid, so garbage rots in the street. Poppy, Beans’ dad, heads for New Jersey to look for work. Beans introduces readers to a large cast of the town’s colorful characters. Everyone has a nickname and Beans knows them all: Johnny Cakes, Too Bad, Kermit, Pork Chop.. Then, an outsider shows up with a proposition to save the sleepy town by turning it into a tourist destination. Julius Stone, Jr. has funds from Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation for materials, but the labor must come from residents. Beans believes that all grownups are “lying liars”, but slowly he (and the rest of the town) begin to buy into Stone’s vision. A section at the end provides background about the historical events on which the book is based.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Modern children might find the wacky sayings kids used in the 1930’s to be pos-i-tute-ly incomprehensible and a pain in the bungy.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to readers who would enjoy being guided through a Depression success story by a spunky streetwise narrator with a heart of gold.
Read-a-likes: Turtle in Paradise
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve with Historical fiction if you have Genre shelving.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 8/28/16