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Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel

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Life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads Life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she's never met. Florida's like nothing Turtle's ever seen before though. It's hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.


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Life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads Life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she's never met. Florida's like nothing Turtle's ever seen before though. It's hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.

30 review for Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    aly ☆彡

    Turtle in Paradise follows a story of an 11 year old, Turtle who finds herself sent off to Florida to live with her aunt and cousins she never get to know of. This story is depicted during the Great Depression period, illustrating the economic hardships which cause family breakdowns at the time. Moving in was hard and this sensitive, heartfelt story captures the magic of meeting new friends and family member as Turtle gets to set for adventures. I had this in my library since its released but de Turtle in Paradise follows a story of an 11 year old, Turtle who finds herself sent off to Florida to live with her aunt and cousins she never get to know of. This story is depicted during the Great Depression period, illustrating the economic hardships which cause family breakdowns at the time. Moving in was hard and this sensitive, heartfelt story captures the magic of meeting new friends and family member as Turtle gets to set for adventures. I had this in my library since its released but decided to read it on the spur of the moment and delighted to find myself enjoying them. I haven't read the novel but I love the atmosphere set forth in the graphic novel. The illustrations were beautifully drawn, demonstrating the perfect setting of Key West during the Great Depression — where kids ran barefoot, families were frequently compelled to take their other stray families, people struggling to look for jobs. Despite the pitiful state at the time, Turtle in Paradise rejoicing the good at the bad time; which couldn't help but make you feel nostalgic and homey instead. If you're into historical fiction or graphic novels, I believe this is one of the must-read MG book. It's splited into mini-chapters, which I believe would make this an easy read for youngsters. Holm's graphic novel adaptation doesn’t lose the story’s warmth, humor, and dramatic moments, you wouldn't want to miss it; especially if you're a fan of the novel itself! It's sweet, poignant, and heartwarming all the same.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    It's 1935, and young Turtle's mom has gotten a job as a housekeeper; she hopes to earn enough to buy a house for the two of them. Unfortunately, her new employer can't stand children, so poor Turtle is being sent to stay with relatives in Key West, Florida. Things don't go too smoothly at first: her aunt seems none too happy to see her, and her cousins, all male, are determined to keep her out of their gang. Turtle's going to need her "hard shell" to cope with all the changes as she adjusts to l It's 1935, and young Turtle's mom has gotten a job as a housekeeper; she hopes to earn enough to buy a house for the two of them. Unfortunately, her new employer can't stand children, so poor Turtle is being sent to stay with relatives in Key West, Florida. Things don't go too smoothly at first: her aunt seems none too happy to see her, and her cousins, all male, are determined to keep her out of their gang. Turtle's going to need her "hard shell" to cope with all the changes as she adjusts to life in this new "paradise." This was delightful. 'Twas a magical time when children could spend an entire day unsupervised, everyone knew everyone in town, and fun could be had without cell phones, or even money. Perhaps there was even a pirate's treasure waiting to be found if you knew where to look. Savanna Ganucheau's lovely art captures every moment of that sun-drenched splendor, and made me want to head south for a bit of paradise. Recommended to anyone looking for a quick, nostalgic getaway.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    I loved this!! TURTLE IN PARADISE is one of my favorite books and it was my favorite as a kid. Most of the dialogue was taken directly from the book and the art was super cute and fit the story perfectly!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    I already liked this story, and wanted to see how a comic artist would interpret Turtle and her Key West family. The artwork is expressive and energetic, and I could imagine the heat settling over the Curry home each sunny, summer day. I loved the soft shades of the colours invoking the Florida skies and Atlantic ocean, and the water- and sun-beaten wood of the buildings. I already liked this story, and wanted to see how a comic artist would interpret Turtle and her Key West family. The artwork is expressive and energetic, and I could imagine the heat settling over the Curry home each sunny, summer day. I loved the soft shades of the colours invoking the Florida skies and Atlantic ocean, and the water- and sun-beaten wood of the buildings.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cecelia

    Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel has one of the prettiest and most colorful book covers I’ve ever seen. And obviously, as a human (aka someone who judges books by their covers), I was drawn to it. I had never read a Jennifer L. Holm book before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade graphic novel, an adaptation of a book by the same name, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau and colored by Lark Pien. It’s sweet, tart, and endearing – just like a Key lime pie. For Turtle, growing up in the S Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel has one of the prettiest and most colorful book covers I’ve ever seen. And obviously, as a human (aka someone who judges books by their covers), I was drawn to it. I had never read a Jennifer L. Holm book before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade graphic novel, an adaptation of a book by the same name, illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau and colored by Lark Pien. It’s sweet, tart, and endearing – just like a Key lime pie. For Turtle, growing up in the South during the Great Depression means that she’s used to uncertainty. She and her mother Sadiebelle (who has her head stuck firmly in the clouds) make due with any situation – even when Sadiebelle’s employer won’t allow children. So Turtle is shipped down to the Florida Keys to live with her cousins and aunt, whom she has never met before. Upon arrival, Turtle is alerted to the existence of a Diaper Gang, barefoot life, and other Conch (Florida Keys native) peculiarities. As she adjusts to life in the Keys, several mysteries unravel – and the only question remaining is: will Turtle finally find her home in Florida? Or will her mother eventually buy them a home in Georgia? Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel is a gem of a graphic novel – full of shenanigans, feisty cousins, hard-headed Turtle, and the ups and downs of extended family life. For Turtle, who has been an only child, and a practical one at that, it is an adjustment. Turtle’s experiences, illustrated in loving detail and color, are by turns laugh-out-loud funny, bittersweet, and charming. The book reads as a series of connected vignettes, slowly illuminating the mysteries of Turtle’s parentage and lineage, the will-she/won’t-she of being able to keep her cat Smokey, and the all-consuming effort to earn money so that she and her mother can have the sense of security that a home would bring. I loved the historical tidbits and worries that are particular to Turtle’s time. She’s a product of her upbringing: practical, clever, and able to fit in with any crowd, and yet she has soft spots: for her cat, for her crotchety old grandmother, and for her mother, a dreamer who left Key West and ended up a housekeeper. I also loved the illustrations! Especially those of activities that barely exist in the US any longer: sponge fishing, turtle harvesting, encyclopedia sales, and so on. Through this book, can feel both the heat and the ocean breeze of the 1930s Keys. I already adored Savanna Ganucheau’s art from her collaboration with Kevin Panetta in their YA graphic novel Bloom, but this collaboration with Holm and Pien is something special. Ganucheau renders her art digitally in Photoshop, and Holm’s big-eyed characters emote in such a lovely way with those eyes. The art and text combination evoked smells, tastes, visuals, auditory stimulus, and, of course, feeling. In addition, colorist Pien’s pastel sherbet palette of colors is evocative of sun-drenched days and bright light. The combination of all three? A delight. In all, Turtle in Paradise is a pearl, a peach, a star! of a graphic novel, and one that I enjoyed in one gulp. Recommended for: fans of historical fiction, anyone who likes Savanna Ganucheau’s art (Bloom!), and those ready for a summer-y middle grade read filled with poignant moments, à la This One Summer and Be Prepared.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    While I haven't read the original novel, this was an interesting enough story in a setting I didn't know much about. Liked the drawing style and atmosphere. While I think kids will enjoy this, the ending and final revelation was rather abrupt and I'm not sure if it'll throw them. While I haven't read the original novel, this was an interesting enough story in a setting I didn't know much about. Liked the drawing style and atmosphere. While I think kids will enjoy this, the ending and final revelation was rather abrupt and I'm not sure if it'll throw them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews

    Disclaimer : Many thanks to PRH international for e-copy via NetGalley. This was heart warming and fun historical fiction graphic novel that revolved around Turtle who was sent to Key West to live with her aunt where she found treasure and much more. The story was about family, secrets, adventure, coming out of shell, love and friendship. Writing was easy to follow along with illustrations. It was told from Turtle’s POV. Her monologues in box separating the dialogues and conversations were fun to Disclaimer : Many thanks to PRH international for e-copy via NetGalley. This was heart warming and fun historical fiction graphic novel that revolved around Turtle who was sent to Key West to live with her aunt where she found treasure and much more. The story was about family, secrets, adventure, coming out of shell, love and friendship. Writing was easy to follow along with illustrations. It was told from Turtle’s POV. Her monologues in box separating the dialogues and conversations were fun to read. Illustrations were beautiful. I loved colour palate and art. Turtle was amazing 11 years old kid.It was great to see how slowly she came out of the shell she created around her and started enjoying her time in Key West, and how her thoughts changed by the end. Diaper gang was fun to read. Turtle’s cousins ran this gang with their friends. Setting of Key West and timeline of 1935 during great depression and time of Shirley Temple was well presented. Overall, Turtle in Paradise was lovely, heart warming, and entertaining graphic novel with amazing characters and setting. If you enjoy stories set in Key West, great depression timeline, kids and their pranks and adventure, I highly recommend this. Read full review - https://booksteacupreviews.com/2021/0...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Cooke

    A true treasure of a story…pirate treasure, that is! Learning about your family, meeting new people, coming out of your shell; these are all things that Turtle has face in this tale and Jenni Holm and Savanna Ganucheau perfectly set the scene along with warm pastel colours that evoke a southern summer in the Keys. For fans of This One Summer.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    3.5 stars--This is a really nicely presented and absorbing story, rich in time and place--a Florida Keys community in the 1930s. Turtle's mom is struggling, and when the only housekeeping work she can find doesn't welcome a kid in tow, Turtle is shipped off to live with family members she's never met. However, both Turtle and the Keys "diaper gang" are in for a surprise when they find out how much they have to learn from one another, and what kinds of adventures they can get into. Animal content 3.5 stars--This is a really nicely presented and absorbing story, rich in time and place--a Florida Keys community in the 1930s. Turtle's mom is struggling, and when the only housekeeping work she can find doesn't welcome a kid in tow, Turtle is shipped off to live with family members she's never met. However, both Turtle and the Keys "diaper gang" are in for a surprise when they find out how much they have to learn from one another, and what kinds of adventures they can get into. Animal content: Turtle's bond with her cat, Smokey, is sweet, and we learn that Smokey was abused by a group of kids--resulting in both cat and caretaker being wary of kids they don't know. While the reference to abuse was sad, the story also modelled in the "diaper gang" a group of kids who do things that are kind and helpful to others, too. Clearly, readers will most likely relate to the main characters of the story, rather than the bullies who attacked Smokey. Also sad, but true to its time, is the content relating to the Keys' active industry in hunting sea turtles. Much like whaling, the commercial hunting of these long-lived, slow-reproducing animals decimated their populations in ways that are still being felt today. The historical photograph of multiple captured sea turtles on their backs, arrayed on a Florida Keys dock, was distressing, but it will also likely spark some good conversations about the past and the destructive ways we behave when we don't think about the consequences of our actions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

    Really cute and delightful little graphic novel. The art is lovely and the story is sweet and full of adventures. I recommend this for older kids/early middle grade and up, and definitely have passed this on for my spawn to read. 5/5 Cups of coffee from me, thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I always love Jennifer Holm’s work.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mehsi

    A fun read~

  13. 4 out of 5

    Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*

    The mom in this drove me crazy! 😖

  14. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza Kuwarawala

    Title - Turtle in Paradise Author - Jennifer L Holm Genre - Historical Fiction Received an e-arc from Netgalley. Thank you Penguin Books Plot: The plot is pretty straightforward. Turtle in Paradise is the story of Turtle who is sent to her aunt's place since her mother is not allowed to bring kids at her workplace. Stuck between four other cousins who treats her as an outcast, Turtle tries to settle in Key West, Florida and make her place among them and come out her own shell. My Thoughts on the Boo Title - Turtle in Paradise Author - Jennifer L Holm Genre - Historical Fiction Received an e-arc from Netgalley. Thank you Penguin Books Plot: The plot is pretty straightforward. Turtle in Paradise is the story of Turtle who is sent to her aunt's place since her mother is not allowed to bring kids at her workplace. Stuck between four other cousins who treats her as an outcast, Turtle tries to settle in Key West, Florida and make her place among them and come out her own shell. My Thoughts on the Book: I haven't read the original novel that this graphic novel is based upon so I'm not sure how much of the book has been translated into pictures here. Though the illustrations are beautiful, the plot seemed to have lost at times while translating to graphics and hence a reader would feel lost as to what exactly is the author trying to convey. The book does have a strong second half which apparently lifts the overall book a notch. When one does read about the times that people went through those days, it does touch upon certain emotions that people would surely relate to. My Ratings - 🌟🌟🌟 💫(3.5 out of 5 stars)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought this graphic novel adaptation was mostly very true to the original novel, and did a great job bringing to life the setting of the Florida Keys. I don't know that I loved the illustrative style of the people, however. While the illustrator took great pains to dress the characters in the style of the day, the faces seemed a little too manga-inspired. I would have liked a bit more of an authentic style for the I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thought this graphic novel adaptation was mostly very true to the original novel, and did a great job bringing to life the setting of the Florida Keys. I don't know that I loved the illustrative style of the people, however. While the illustrator took great pains to dress the characters in the style of the day, the faces seemed a little too manga-inspired. I would have liked a bit more of an authentic style for the people. Additionally, there are some situations in which I feel like a person who has not read the original novel might be confused, or not get the full emotional impact of the situation. For example, when the kids are trapped in the shack on the island during the hurricane, I felt like that scene in the book was very suspenseful and wrought with emotion, however, in the graphic novel, it was not nearly as nerve-wrecking. Similarly, I feel like the relationship between Slow Poke, Turtle, and Turtle's mom was better developed and explained in the book, and kids reading the graphic novel will have to infer more, and might miss what is being implied. Overall, I felt like it was a good adaptation, but I feel like a few more panels in certain situations would have made it more complete.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Revisiting a beloved favorite children’s book in graphic novel form was an absolute joy. I loved getting to return to Key West with Turtle and the Diaper Gang. My only criticism is that the original novel is so beloved to me, that the quick nature of reading a graphic novel doesn't allow you to savor the story as much as you can when you read a prose novel. But, getting to actually visuals definitely gives the reading experience something new and different. There are benefits of both reading exp Revisiting a beloved favorite children’s book in graphic novel form was an absolute joy. I loved getting to return to Key West with Turtle and the Diaper Gang. My only criticism is that the original novel is so beloved to me, that the quick nature of reading a graphic novel doesn't allow you to savor the story as much as you can when you read a prose novel. But, getting to actually visuals definitely gives the reading experience something new and different. There are benefits of both reading experiences.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Pickett

    There are so many amazing graphic novels out there that sometimes it’s hard to know which one to pick up! You can never go wrong with an adaptation of a beloved book. Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm and Savanna Ganucheau is a new adaptation of the Newbery Honor-winning novel. When 11-year old Turtle’s mother gets a job keeping house for a woman who doesn’t like kids, Turtle heads off to Florida to live with relatives. Key West is full of ragtag cousins, family secrets, There are so many amazing graphic novels out there that sometimes it’s hard to know which one to pick up! You can never go wrong with an adaptation of a beloved book. Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm and Savanna Ganucheau is a new adaptation of the Newbery Honor-winning novel. When 11-year old Turtle’s mother gets a job keeping house for a woman who doesn’t like kids, Turtle heads off to Florida to live with relatives. Key West is full of ragtag cousins, family secrets, and maybe even a little pirate treasure! I do love a ragtag group, and especially this "Diaper Gang"! Tropical colors and Depression-era visuals really complement this wonderful story. And did you spot the 🐈‍⬛ on the cover?? How could I not love this book?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Havens

    I really liked learning about Key West during the 1930s but I kind of wanted to slap Sadiebelle. Really lady? How dumb are you? Makes me feel bad about Turtle. I thought that Turtle's journey was typical of this time period (from what I've gathered by watching 1930s era movies). I enjoyed learning about the sea turtle, conch, and sponge industry. I've never been to Key West before but I am definitely more interested now from reading this graphic novel. Fun, historical read! I really liked learning about Key West during the 1930s but I kind of wanted to slap Sadiebelle. Really lady? How dumb are you? Makes me feel bad about Turtle. I thought that Turtle's journey was typical of this time period (from what I've gathered by watching 1930s era movies). I enjoyed learning about the sea turtle, conch, and sponge industry. I've never been to Key West before but I am definitely more interested now from reading this graphic novel. Fun, historical read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    I hadn't read the original, non-graphic novel version of this book, and I loved the story, setting, and characters. I liked the art fine, though I don't feel like it added a ton to the story. A sweet, fun read! I hadn't read the original, non-graphic novel version of this book, and I loved the story, setting, and characters. I liked the art fine, though I don't feel like it added a ton to the story. A sweet, fun read!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    The graphic novel is an unusual format for historical fiction but this one works really well. The interplay between the visual and the written story is clever and compelling . The story moves quickly and there are nuances that some readers may miss because of it, but it doesn't make the novel any less engaging. It did seem to wrap up the storylines rather quickly, which would be my only complaint--and not even a complaint--maybe I just wasn't ready to let go. Adventure. 1930s Depression history. The graphic novel is an unusual format for historical fiction but this one works really well. The interplay between the visual and the written story is clever and compelling . The story moves quickly and there are nuances that some readers may miss because of it, but it doesn't make the novel any less engaging. It did seem to wrap up the storylines rather quickly, which would be my only complaint--and not even a complaint--maybe I just wasn't ready to let go. Adventure. 1930s Depression history. A "Diaper gang". Travelling salesmen trying to get ahead. And a girl named Turtle who will steal your heart.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Flanagin

    I truly enjoyed reading the book that goes to this graphic novel and reading the graphic version was the same. Great story!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Viklund

    Well I LOVED IT!! And I learned so much about Key West during the Great Depression, the author’s notes & glimpse at the illustration process was so fascinating— don’t skip over that.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Cute story but God what an awful ending it was so upsetting!!! I do hope for a sequel though because I feel like there's still a lot left to be said and done Cute story but God what an awful ending it was so upsetting!!! I do hope for a sequel though because I feel like there's still a lot left to be said and done

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    It felt a little disjointed, but it was still an interesting look into Conch life. Would like to see a second book with a more cohesive and/or deeper storyline.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I haven’t read the book that this is based on but I really enjoyed it! The artwork was very nice and I loved the story. I will definitely be recommending this one.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    I haven't read the original novel this graphic novel adapts, but I bet it's lovely. This was a sweet story about family and life in depression-era Key West. The artwork brings it to life and cleverly makes the objects of a lot of nicknames and local slang more clear. I haven't read the original novel this graphic novel adapts, but I bet it's lovely. This was a sweet story about family and life in depression-era Key West. The artwork brings it to life and cleverly makes the objects of a lot of nicknames and local slang more clear.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Turtle is sent to Key West when her mother takes on a new job as a live in maid. Her employer doesn't allow children, so Turtle is sent south to family she didn't know she had. Beans and his brothers are her cousins. Although Turtle's story was written first, it happens a year after Full of Beans. As a graphic novel, Turtle's story is trimmed down to the most salient and emotional bits. She's angry at the people in her life. She's learned to trust no one, including her mother. Kids back home set Turtle is sent to Key West when her mother takes on a new job as a live in maid. Her employer doesn't allow children, so Turtle is sent south to family she didn't know she had. Beans and his brothers are her cousins. Although Turtle's story was written first, it happens a year after Full of Beans. As a graphic novel, Turtle's story is trimmed down to the most salient and emotional bits. She's angry at the people in her life. She's learned to trust no one, including her mother. Kids back home set her cat's tail on fire. The adults in her life are just as untrustworthy, even the man who is wooing her mother. http://pussreboots.com/blog/2021/comm... Family Home Blue Highway 336633

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather Lander

    Really loved the setting and era. I'm not typically one for historical fiction but I liked this one. Really loved the setting and era. I'm not typically one for historical fiction but I liked this one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Covington

    Sweet story, lovely drawings. Just wanted a bit more in the resolution and the family history, but maybe this is something to be tackled in a sequel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I have never read the chapter book, but I adored this graphic novel!! The illustrations are so well done!!

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