Sunday, August 28, 2011
What I'm Reading During Hurricane Watch
A few years ago-- okay a long time ago-- I started married life with a Navy Hurricane Hunter in Weather Reconnaissance Squadron 4, based as NAS Jacksonville, Florida. Back then, we were totally tuned in to hurricane season. And this was before the Weather Channel.
But while living in the northeast, I kind of ignored hurricanes. We worried more about blizzards.
When we moved to Florida, it all came back to me. Especially during 2004, a Big Season for storms. We normally aren't in Florida during hurricane season. We button our little house up, move everything out of harm's way, and head back to New Jersey. But that summer of 2004, we were in St. Petersburg and passed the storm hunkered down with our dog and our family. I seem to recall learning how to play Texas Hold 'em in that storm.
Hurricane Irene, through a strange set of crazy circumstances, found me in Florida, and the hurricane barreling toward my New Jersey condo. Go figure.
Thanks to nice neighbors who popped over there yesterday, the plants were secured, the flag removed, the packages left on the doorstep safely put away. My New Jersey basement, maybe not. I'm keeping a weather eye out, as they say.
But today, I'm saturated with this post-hurricane 24/7 coverage. So I decided to re-read Jennifer Holm's TURTLE IN PARADISE. Remember the hurricane? The Florida Keys, 1935.
Here's a little bit of it, from Turtle's point-of-view:
Raindrops belt the shack like spitballs. The storm is scarier than anything I've ever been in before because the shack is so flimsy. I keep waiting for it to blow away- and us with it.
Then the rats crawl over their feet. What kid wouldn't just love hearing that scene read aloud? The roof cracks and the boys are crying. Turtle starts singing that stupid Shirley Temple song.
About the Good Ship Lollipop. And the boys join in.
The wind howls, but the Diaper Gang of Key West belts out a song as the angry storm washes everything away.
It has a happy ending for the kids. I think it would be a perfect book to share with young readers, post hurricane.
I'm reading it again to see how that gifted writer put it all together. How funny I think Turtle is. How well Holm pulls the history in, the details, the music, the language.
I love what the Story Sleuths said about the book in their postings. (Click here to go there. Note to Story Sleuths- come back! I loved your in-depth looks at books!)
I already blogged a bit about TURTLE IN PARADISE when it first came out. I reviewed it on my friend Joyce's "history" blog. If you go to my earlier blog entry about the book, you can read my review.
I was inspired to write this post by Kate Messner's blog invitation.
Maybe you were too? Hurricane thoughts anyone?