Star Wars Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's

Recently Viewed clear list

The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson

Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »
  1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list


    Daniel H. Wilson 9780385537094

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $16.99
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Children's Middle Readers- General

Turtle in Paradise


Turtle in Paradise Cover

ISBN13: 9780375836886
ISBN10: 0375836888
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $11.95!




Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I've lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten. The only difference between grown-ups and kids is that grown-ups go to jail for murder. Kids get away with it.  

I stare out the window as Mr. Edgit's Ford Model A rumbles along the road, kicking up clouds of dust. It's so hot that the backs of my legs feel like melted gum, only stickier. We've been driving for days now; it feels like eternity.   In front of us is a rusty pickup truck with a gang of dirty-looking kids in the back sandwiched between furniture--an iron bed, a rocking chair, battered pots--all tied up with little bits of fraying rope like a spiderweb. A girl my age is holding a baby that's got a pair of ladies' bloomers tied on its head to keep the sun out of its eyes. The boy sitting next to her has a gap between his two front teeth. Not that this stops him from blowing spitballs at us through a straw. We've been stuck behind this truckfor the last few miles, and our windshield is covered with wadded bits of wet newspaper.

A spitball smacks the window and Mr. Edgit hammers the horn with the palm of his hand. The no-good boy just laughs and sticks out his tongue.  

"There oughta be a law. No wonder this country's going to the dogs," Mr. Edgit grumbles.  

Mr. Edgit ("You can call me Lyle") has a lot of opinions. He says folks in the Dust Bowl wouldn't be having so much trouble if they'd just move near some water. He says he doesn't think President Roosevelt will get us out of this Depression and that if you give someone money for not working why would they ever bother to get a job? But mostly Mr. Edgit talks about a new hair serum he's selling that's going to make him rich. It's called Hair Today, and he's a believer. He's used the product himself.  

"Can you see the new hair, Turtle?" he asks, pointing at his shiny bald head.  

I don't see anything. It must grow invisible hair.  

Maybe Archie should start selling hair serum. If his pal Mr. Edgit's anything to go by, most men would rather have hair than be smart. Archie's a traveling salesman. He's sold everything--brushes, gadgets, Bibles, you name it. Right now he's peddling encyclopedias.  

"I could sell a trap to a mouse," Archie likes to say, and it's the truth. Housewives can't resist him. I know Mama couldn't.  

It was last May, one day after my tenth birthday, when I opened the door of Mrs. Grant's house and saw Archie standing there. He had dark brown eyes and thick black hair brushed back with lemon pomade.  

"Well, hello there," Archie said to me, tipping his Panama hat. "Is the lady of the house at home?"  

"Which lady?" I asked. "The ugly one or the pretty one?"  

He laughed. "Why, ain't you a sweet little thing."  

"I'm not sweet," I said. "I slugged Ronald Caruthers when he tried to throw my cat in the well, and I'd do it again."   Archie roared with laughter. "I'll bet you would! What's your name, princess?"  

"Turtle," I said.  

"Turtle, huh?" he mused, stroking his chin. "I can see why. Got a little snap to you, don't ya?"  

"Who's that you're talking to, Turtle?" my mother called, coming to the door.  

Archie smiled at Mama. "You must be the pretty lady."  

Mama put her hand over her heart. Otherwise it would have leaped right out of her chest. She fell so hard for Archie she left a dent in the floor.  

Mama's always falling in love, and the fellas she picks are like dandelions. One day they're there, bright as sunshine--charming Mama, buying me presents--and the next they're gone, scattered to the wind, leaving weeds everywhere and Mama crying.  

But Mama says Archie's different, and I'm starting to think she may be right. He keeps his promises, and he hasn't disappeared yet. Even Smokey likes him, which is saying something, considering she bit the last fella Mama dated. Also, he's got big dreams,which is more than I can say for most of them.  

"Mark my words, princess," Archie told me. "We'll be living on Easy Street someday."  

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Monica Hodges, August 12, 2012 (view all comments by Monica Hodges)
This is a great story for middle grade kids. The characters are compelling, and I loved reading about a different era and place from my own. This book is on the Washington State children's choice list, and it deserves to be on it!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Shelly Burns, July 10, 2010 (view all comments by Shelly Burns)
What a good little book! It took me about 2 hours to read it all because I wanted to know what happened. I love that it is based on real people, places, and events. Jennifer Holm does a great job with this story for 9-12 year olds.

I have to say, that I love Turtle! She is just so tough and sweet at the same time! How horrible, to be sent to live with your aunt because your mom's boss doesn't like kids. Probably didn't make her feel good, but she made the best of what could have been a real bad situation. Her aunt didn't know she was coming, her cousins don't want to share the house with a girl, and she misses her mom! But, she grows to love Key West and you will too after reading this.

Holm's descriptions of Key West are so vivid that you can almost see it, and feel as if you are there right alongside Turtle as she walks the streets with her cousins and the "Diaper Gang." What's great is that at the end of the story, Holm gives us actual photos of some of the people and places that are mentioned in the book, or the people or places that they were based on. I love having that to compare with my "mental movie" of the book! It really brings the book to life.

What was once her most prized possession, a pair of shoes, becomes something that's no longer needed at her new home. I felt like the shoes were a pivotal part of the book. Turtle holds on to those as if that will keep her from forgetting her past, or the future that she and her mom have planned with Archie. But, when Turtle loses one shoe, she seems to lose part of her hope that mom will come back. She is growing to like it in Key West and proceeds to become one of the barefoot neighborhood traipsing children. As a matter of fact, she realizes that Key West just might be the future she wasn't looking for.

Turtle learns a lot about herself in this book, and the author does a great job of letting the reader figure it out slowly. It is really fun to see how the story unfolds and everyone fits together. If you have children who love a good story and want to learn a little about the past in a place they may not know about, then pick this up for them. You might enjoy it as well!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

Holm, Jennifer L
Random House Books for Young Readers
Holm, Jennifer L.
Adventure and adventurers
Depressions -- 1929.
Historical - General
Children s-Historical Fiction-General
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 3 up to 7
8.34x5.90x.84 in. .70 lbs.
Age Level:

Other books you might like

  1. McCafferty's Nine (Large Print)... New Hardcover $31.95

Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Featured Titles
Children's » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » General
Children's » Historical Fiction » United States » 20th Century
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Oregon Battle of the Books
Children's » Sale Books

Turtle in Paradise Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Random House Books for Young Readers - English 9780375836886 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Turtle, the witty 11-year-old narrator of this standout historical novel, is a straight shooter: 'Everyone thinks children are sweet as Necco Wafers, but I've lived long enough to know the truth: kids are rotten.' When her romantic and unrealistic mother, who's always falling in and out of love, gets a housekeeping job that won't allow children, she sends Turtle to her estranged family in Depression-era Key West. Though her mother hails Key West as paradise, Turtle initially think it's a dump ('Truth is, the place looks like a broken chair that's been left out in the sun to rot'). Two-time Newbery Honor author Holm again crafts a winning heroine who, despite her hardened exterior, gradually warms to her eccentric family members, including her unruly cousins and waspish grandmother (who Turtle thought was dead). Infused with period pop culture references, a strong sense of place, and the unique traditions and culture of Key West natives (aka 'Conchs'), this humorous adventure effectively portrays Turtle as caught between her mother's Hollywood-inspired dreams and the very real family and geography that offer a different kind of paradise. Ages 8 — 12." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at