Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Chapter 1

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Chapter 1

Rotten Kids

  • We begin by hearing about how rotten kids can be. We're serious—according to Turtle, kids can be as mean and ruthless as adults.
  • The only difference is adults get away with murder, whereas kids don't. 
  • She stares out the window of the dusty pick up truck and sees kids throwing spitballs. Boom—one hits Mr. Edgit who is driving. 
  • Pesky kids. He gets annoyed but keeps driving. 
  • On the road, Mr. Edgit tells Turtle about his latest get-rich-quick scheme—Hair Today—which is supposed to make your hair grow super fast; he's sure it works really well. 
  • Too bad Turtle doesn't see any hair on his head, but whatever. Mr. Edgit is just a friend of her mom's boyfriend, Archie, so Turtle doesn't know him all that well. 
  • He's giving her a ride down to Florida where she'll be staying with her aunt for a while. You see, Turtle's mom just got a job as a housekeeper and can't bring along her daughter, so it's off to her aunt's place instead. 
  • She remembers when she first met Archie. He came to the door to sell something, and before she knew it, her mom was head-over-heels in love with the guy. 
  • That's the problem with her mom: She's always in love or falling in love, and before you know it, she's all alone and crying again.
  • Turtle worries about her mom sometimes, even though her mom promises Archie's different. 
  • Back to the present, Turtle thinks about how Mr. Edgit has an awful lot of opinions, such as the fact that the Great Depression will never end. 
  • Then he asks about Turtle's cat. What's wrong with it? Turtle tells him about the time Smokey the cat got burned. 
  • Mr. Edgit doesn't get why Turtle couldn't stay with her mom in the mansion that she works in. Turtle doesn't really get it either, but it's not the first time the people her mom works for have been mean to her—no one wants to be nice to the help. 
  • Everyone thinks kids are as cute as Shirley Temple, but in real life, they are anything but, and instead they lie, cheat, and steal anytime they want. Turtle hates kids and she definitely hates Shirley Temple. 
  • One day, she won't have to live where her mom works or with her aunt. In fact, her mom promised her they'll get a house of their own someday. They've already picked one out from the Sears catalog called the Bellewood. 
  • Turtle's not sure whether to believe her mom or not. After all, her mom thinks everything ends up like a Hollywood movie with a perfect, happy ending. 
  • As for Turtle, she knows that's just in the movies. Real life is more like The Three Little Pigs, where a wolf is trying to blow down your house and you can't stop him.

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