Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Chapter 4

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Chapter 4

The Conch Telegraph

  • Turtle thinks about how people are going hungry in many parts of the country. She's always had it easy by comparison, since her mom's worked for the rich. 
  • She stares at the toast her aunt gave her for breakfast and starts to realize how good she had it. 
  • Aunt Minnie asks Turtle about how her mom's doing, so Turtle explains she's dating a salesman named Archie, who she wants to marry. 
  • Minnie wants to know if he's a good guy, and Turtle assures her he is—he even bought Turtle new shoes. 
  • Hmm… Minnie says she hopes Turtle has more sense than her mom. At first, Turtle's not sure how to feel about that. She knows her mom is gullible, but she doesn't like someone saying that about her. 
  • As Turtle grabs a glass of milk, a scorpion crawls out from underneath the fridge. Beans tells his mom and she instructs Turtle to shake out her shoes every day so she doesn't get bit. Scorpions like hiding in dark places. 
  • Then Beans asks Turtle what Archie sells. When she tells him he sells encyclopedias, Beans mocks her and says dumb kids like her must need those. 
  • Pork Chop shows up and Beans is about to leave when his mom tells him to take Turtle with them; she's got a lot of laundry to do for people and she doesn't need kids hanging around. 
  • Beans is bummed to have a girl hang around the Diaper Gang, but he agrees—hopefully it doesn't ruin their reputation, though. 
  • They go outside in the sticky heat and make their way to Mrs. Lowe's house, where they are met by a screaming baby. 
  • Mrs. Lowe's at her wits end, so Beans takes the baby, puts it in the wagon full of quilts, and moves to the next house. 
  • While they're walking, Beans explains that it's the mom's fault—she coddles the baby, so he never stops crying. 
  • Kermit explains to Turtle that the baby's name is Pudding because Mrs. Lowe though she was getting fat from eating banana pudding; instead it turned out to be her baby, though. 
  • The gang sees an ice man making deliveries, and he gives them each a sliver of ice. Ah. It cools them down—just a little. 
  • The ice man tells Turtle she's just as pretty as her mom, and she's confused by how everyone knows she's there and who she is. 
  • That's the Conch Telegraph for ya, Porch Chop explains—everyone here gossips to one another so they all know each other's business. 
  • As they keep walking, they see a bunch of turtles in the water. Turtle asks why they're all there, and Pork Chop says that's where they keep the turtles until they're butchered. 
  • Beans says hi to some guy named Slow Poke. He's a sailor and Beans is hoping to get a job from him, but it turns out he's already hired a guy named Ollie. Oh well, maybe next time. 
  • They introduce Turtle and make some chit chat before heading on their way.

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