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LM_NET  September 2016

LM_NET September 2016

Subject:

Richie’s Picks: FULL OF BEANS

From:

Richie Partington <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:05:31 -0400

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Richie’s  Picks:  FULL OF BEANS by Jennifer L. Holm, Random House, August 
2016, 208p., ISBN:  978-0-553-51036-2
“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 
 lie.
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 makes 
sense 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.
Richie  Partington, MLIS 
Richie's  Picks_ http://richiespicks.pbworks.com_ 
(http://richiespicks.com/)  
[log in to unmask] 
https://www.facebook.com/richie.partington 
Moderator_ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/_ 
(http://groups.yahoo.com/middle_school_lit/) 


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