A Book and a Hug


Full of Beans

Reviewed by Administrator on August 19, 2016.

Beans is the man of the house while Poppy is up north in New Jersey trying to find a job.  His mom takes in laundry to make ends meet.  That leaves plenty of days when Beans has to take care of the baby, Buddy, and keep track of his big talking little brother, Kermit.  But with the power of Nana Philly's girdle, Beans knows just how to keep that baby quiet.

If you've ever seen a Little Rascals movie and loved it, you are in for absolute fun here.  Beans bounces from his chores and responsibilities to some alcohol running and the occasional fire alarm prank. He's out to make enough money to get into the movies and get some decent ice cream.  He and his friends play a mean game of marbles and he keeps busy staying a step or two ahead of Dot...he hates that girl.

In the background the Federal Government is working hard to transform the fortunes of Key West and its residents.  If they can get all the garbage picked up and houses painted and outhouses cleaned and seaweed raked, they just might turn into a huge tourist destination and that means jobs and money and good times for everyone.

Filled with the jargon of the day and some fascinating behind the scenes look at the old Key West, this is fun, filled with antics and the good heart and bad mistakes of a very likable boy named Beans.

978-0553510362  Ages 8-12  194 pages

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


“White  ones and red ones
And  some you can’t disguise
Twisted  truth and half the news
Can’t  hide it in your eyes”
--Thompson  Twins, “Lies” (1982)
“Everyone  shouted, ‘Hip, hip, hooray for Beans!’
“Then  people were congratulating me and slapping me on the back. The radio
was turned  up loud. Cuban music started playing, and someone brought out
snacks. It was an  impromptu celebration, and I was the guest of honor.
“One  by one, people came up to compliment me. Winky pushed his way through
the crowd  and slapped me on the back.
“‘I  hear that my favorite worker saved the day!’ he said. ‘How’s it feel
to be a  hero?’
“‘’Scuse  me,’ I said, and fought my way outside. I walked behind the
firehouse. And threw  up.”
FULL  OF BEANS is a prequel to Jennifer L. Holm’s Newbery Honor book TURTLE
IN  PARADISE. It’s a Great Depression-era tale about a kid in Key West who
is the  “man of the family,” now that his father has departed for New
Jersey in search  of work. The story is, in part, a retelling of the Aesop fable,
“The Boy Who  Cried Wolf.”
As  with TURTLE IN PARADISE, FULL OF BEANS is full of laugh-out-loud
situations. But  there is an equally sobering side to the tale. Beans is
contemptuous of the  frequency with which adults lie to kids. But when he has an
opportunity to make  a lot of easy money, he too is deceitful, ignoring right
and wrong in favor of  grabbing for the almighty buck.
All  of Key West might think Beans is a hero, but he knows that’s a big fat
The  story begins with Winky having offered Beans a way to earn money by
collecting  empty cans. But when Beans collects the cans, Winky pays less than
he’d  promised. Beans realizes that it’s every man for himself, and that
making money  can be really tough work.
Beans  then falls into a well-paying but unethical job, as an accomplice to
a local  bootlegger. As with the boy in the Aesop fable, Beans’s deceits on
behalf of the  bootlegger lead to unforeseen tragedy. To his credit, Beans
is horrified by his  own short-sightedness and, throughout the remainder of
the story, he  successfully seeks ways to make amends.
FULL  OF BEANS contains a fascinating slice of history: During the Great
Depression,  Key West went broke. FDR’s people decided that the solution was
to transform the  island into a tourist destination. The sprucing up of Key
West--which really  happened--underlies this story.
Because  FULL OF BEANS takes place before TURTLE IN PARADISE, it makessense to have  readers read them in chronological order, based on the story:
BEANS first, and  TURTLE second. So the question is: Is FULL OF BEANS so good
that readers will be  motivated to continue on and read TURTLE IN PARADISE?
I  believe it is.

Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, Librarian, California USA

See more of his recommendations:  Richie's  Picks_ http://richiespicks.pbworks.com_


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