Full of Beans
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, abookandahug.com
“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.