Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lucky Beans

Lucky Beans

Becky Birtha
Illustrator:  Nicole Tadgell 
Historical Fiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Albert Whitman & Company, 2010   ISBN: 978-0807547823

Marshall Loman is sick of having beans for dinner. Every night they have beans to eat, but there is nothing anyone can do about it. The country is in the middle of the Great Depression, Marshall’s father is out of work, and Marshall and his family are fortunate to have anything at all to eat. Marshall knows all of this, but he cannot help wishing there was something else for dinner besides beans.

One day Marshall and his brother Tommy see that Kaplan’s Furniture Store is hosting a contest. All you have to enter the contest is to guess how many beans there are in a large jar. The winner will get a sewing machine, a machine that Marshall knows his mother would love to have.

Marshall is convinced that he and his mother can figure out how many beans are in the jar, which is just what they try to do. Will they have to guess how many beans are in the jar, or is there a better way to solve the puzzle?

This story is based on a true story from the author’s grandmother’s life, and it is beautifully told. The author gives young readers a picture of what it was like to be a member of a poor African American family during the Great Depression. She provides her readers with further information about the Great Depression in an author’s note at the back of the book.