massively literate Ms. Yingling prodded me to join her Guy Friday book postings, so here you go.
Doesn't look like much of a boys book, does it? Well that's because this should win an award for WORST COVER EVER. This book is funny and obnoxious and moving and wonderful. Yes, there's a girl who is the main character, but it has a Little Rascals type group of mangy boys she falls in with and they play ticks on people, talk smack, run around barefoot and get into all kinds of nonsense. We recently read it in my 4th/5th grade book club and the boys in the group loved it just as much as the girls.
I mean half the book refers to baby "bungies" or buttholes! What's not to love?
This takes place during the Great Depression, before Key West becomes a tourist paradise. Turtle's mom gets a job as a housekeeper, but has to send Turtle down to her sister's in Key West because there are no kids allowed in the rooming house. So Turtle fall in with her cousins and friends known as The Diaper Gang because they have a business taking care of island babies while their mothers are working. They pull a wagon around and are experts at swaddling babies and have a secret formula for irritated "bungies" that makes them the most popular babysitters on the island.
There's a map to pirate treasure! There's a massive hurricane! There are pranks, trick and name-calling galore! This in not the wistful girly book you would think it is from the title. There are boys named Beans and Pork Chop and Kermit and even Too Bad!
Guys, trust me. You want to read this. Just check out the first paragraph of Chapter 1, Rotten Kids:
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.
You want to read this book!
There was this sad attempt at another cover but it's not much better. I asked my kids what they thought should be on the cover and they said the kids in a bout with a treasure map for crying out loud! So there you have it. Maybe they have a future in book marketing. Because flowers? Really? [sounds of vomiting in the background]