Monday, September 12, 2016

Full of Beans



Full of Beans 
By Jennifer L. Holm
Random House Children’s Books, 2016. 208 p.

Once upon a time I discovered a book called Boston Jane: an Adventure by Jennifer L. Holm. I fell in love with this book! It had drama, romance, and some adventure—along with a fun historical fictional world. Of course I fell in love with the book. And I was so pleased when along came two other books in that series. But I digress. That was my first introduction to the world of Jennifer L. Holm. I next read about a young girl in a home full of brothers that tries to figure out who she is. Then I read (and enjoyed the illustrations by the author’s brother Matthew Holm) about a mouse who went to school and LOVED the color pink. Then along came Turtle in Paradise where a girl named Turtle has to go and live with her relatives in Key West, Florida. Now that was a great book as well!

Fast forward to this year and just imagine how happy I was that Jennifer Holm had written yet another book. And this one was about Turtle’s relatives! Full of Beans is about life in Key West before Turtle arrives. It tells the story about Beans and how he got his nickname. And how he got the famous (perhaps infamous) Diaper Gang started. This book is another example of great characters fighting just to survive in a hard time (that whole Great Depression thing). Historical fiction done well not only introduces characters to what life was like in a certain place in a certain time in history—but it also makes readers think about that time. And that is what will happen here. Readers may wonder what they would do if they lived in Key West or the Great Depression (would they paint their house pink or go along with the scheme to help move the “coffins”?) or if they were Bean’s friend (or not depending upon how they shot marbles or if they were good with keeping the secret of the diaper rash formula). And this book will make readers think. Mostly it will make them think because the characters and the setting seem so real that the things in the book will seem like part of everyday life. I seriously don’t know how Jennifer Holm does it, but yet again she has written a historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Other books by Holm that I didn’t mention above that I also enjoyed:
Penny From Heaven 
The Fourteenth Goldfish

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