The first is realistic fiction (with a bit of mystery) about the Marriss Bike Barn's sharp increase in business due to a national fuel shortage. With their parents stranded in Canada, Dewey and his siblings must accommodate demanding customers while defending their supplies and home life. The second is also realistic fiction and takes place on a small Maine island where the residents have decided to take in orphans in an effort to increase their school population and avoid closure by the government. Tess is an eleven-year-old who does not get the kind of "brother" she expects in introverted, trumpet-playing Aaron but sticks to the superstitions that begin each chapter.
Turtle in Paradise is set in 1935 in Key West. Turtle is sent there by her mother to live with her aunt and cousins and finds it difficult to make her way amidst the rough and tough boys in the neighborhood, especially those who run the Diaper Gang (notorious for soothing diaper rash and crying babies). My teaching partner and I had visions of Spanky and the Gang in mind with these boys! Add a treasure map, some foolishness, a lot of adventure, and some comics to this mix for a wonderful stirred-up story.
I read aloud from The Fully Belly Bowl by Jim Aylesworth, finished the lesson, and had eager readers grabbing for the books. What a great way to sell a story!