Study Guide

Turtle in Paradise Chapter 5

By Jennifer L. Holm

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Chapter 5

Can You Spare a Nickel, Pal?

  • Turtle thinks about how kids in the funny pages always live exciting lives, but real life isn't like that. It's too bad, too—she wishes she could find a treasure map or see some pirates. 
  • The most thrilling thing that happens in Turtle's life is Buddy is always running around the house without his pants. Aunt Minnie tries to get him to put them on, but it's no use. He's four years old, though, so this really shouldn't be happening. 
  • Buddy invites Turtle to hang out with the Diaper Gang again—they've got three babies today. 
  • As they walk to the houses to get the babies, people call out to Beans and offer to work for the Diaper Gang. Turtle notices that things are just as bad everywhere in the country; all over, people are looking for work. 
  • When someone asks where Beans's dad is, he explains he works up in Matecumbe in the wilderness, but comes back every couple weeks. 
  • Turtle thinks about how grateful she is that Archie has a job, since some of her mom's suitors haven't been so lucky. 
  • Before she left, Archie took her aside and gave her five bucks. It's just for emergencies, he said. 
  • Pudding's got a bad diaper, so Kermit changes it and they notice he's got a major rash on his bungy (as they call it—translation: butt).
  • So they give him some secret formula and then they move on. 
  • Some kid named Too Bad comes up to the gang and claims he's been practicing with the diapers. Prove it, Beans says, and they hand him a baby so he can change the diaper. 
  • Too Bad opens it up, and just then, the kid pees right in his face. Yuck. We're starting to understand the third rule of the Diaper Gang:
  • Always duck. 
  • It's super hot outside and things are getting pretty miserable. Turtle doesn't get why the gang doesn't work for cold, hard cash. Why candy? 
  • When she asks, Beans explains it's because no one has the money to pay them. So they take candy instead. What's more? They don't even share it with Turtle since she's not part of the Diaper Gang. 
  • When they get to Francis Street, they see kids go to a wagon to get some ice cream. That sounds so good on a hot day, and Beans wants some, but Pork Chop warns they can't because they don't have any money. 
  • He goes to the ice cream man, orders, and then asks if the guy can spare him the change. Nope. He'd like to, but this is a business, and he can't give out free ice cream to every kid who wants it. 
  • Then Turtle tries. She orders sugar apple flavor and hands him a can. The nickel's in the bottom—I promise, she says. 
  • Then they run off, before the ice cream man can figure out that there's no money in there. 
  • The guys are super jealous so they ask her to share. She's not going to, though, since she's not a part of the Diaper Gang… so why would she?

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