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Trouble Magnet (Calvin Coconut Series)

Trouble Magnet (Calvin Coconut Series)

3.8 17
by Graham Salisbury

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Fourth-grader Calvin lives near the beach in Oahu with his mom and little sister. Mom says: “You’re the man of the house.” But Calvin’s not great at being the man of the house, or taking care of his responsibilities. He’s too busy having fun with his pals, and avoiding Tito, the bully.

Trouble Magnet is the first book in a


Fourth-grader Calvin lives near the beach in Oahu with his mom and little sister. Mom says: “You’re the man of the house.” But Calvin’s not great at being the man of the house, or taking care of his responsibilities. He’s too busy having fun with his pals, and avoiding Tito, the bully.

Trouble Magnet is the first book in a new series for younger readers full of all the fun of growing up in Hawaii. It introduces a wonderful multicultural cast of characters, including Mr. Purdy, who calls his fourth-grade class Boot Camp; Uncle Scoop, who runs the lunch wagon at the beach; Ledward, Mom’s 6'7" boyfriend; and gorgeous, intimidating, 15-year-old Stella-from-Texas, who arrives to be the live-in babysitter—and to step all over Calvin’s turf.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Salisbury (Night of the Howling Dogs) brings the Hawaiian locale and boy-centric vibe of his novels to a younger audience in this kicky start to a middle-grade series. For four years, Cal has been "the man of the house," standing in for his absentee dad, the famous crooner Little Johnny Coconut (who saddled the family with its stage-ready surname). But things get topsy-turvy when a surly teenage family friend arrives to be a live-in babysitter for Cal and his little sister, and Cal makes some missteps in the first days of school in Mr. Purdy's Fourth-Grade Boot Camp, which include a lost centipede and a class food fight. Salisbury uses humor and lots of action to guide Cal as he deals with a neighborhood bully, his new teacher and the upheaval in his home life. Fun details of Hawaiian life, including descriptions of snack foods, beach pursuits and the characters' melting pot of heritages bring the setting to life. The tone is realistic, warm and light as an island breeze-perfect for luring newly confident chapter-book readers. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Phyllis J. Perry
Set in Hawaii in the beach town of Kailua on Oahu, Calvin Coconut and his friends are making the most of the end of summer vacation before returning to school when Calvin learns that a 15-year-old girl from Texas is coming to live with them. He will have to give up his bedroom and move into a storage shed. Even more upsetting is the fact that the neighborhood bully, Tito, is upset with Calvin and looking for a fight. Graham Salisbury (author of Night of the Howling Dog) uses interesting multicultural characters, lots of action, and humor to move the story right along. Calvin finds himself dealing with a runaway kite, an escaping centipede, a broken bedroom door lock, and a food fight, as well as facing situations with his mother who counts on him, his little sister, the new teenager who has moved into his house, the new boy at school, and a fourth grade teacher who runs class like a boot camp. Small black and white drawings add interest to the text, and young readers will want more of Calvin's adventures. Reviewer: Phyllis J. Perry
School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

In the first installment of a planned series, readers meet nine-year-old Calvin, whose singing-star father changed their last name from Novio to Coconut before leaving the family four years earlier. In Mr. Purdy's fourth-grade class in Kailua, HI, Calvin's year is off to a bad start when he accidentally lets loose his new pet centipede, forgets to pick up his little sister after school, and incurs the ire of middle-school bullies Tito and Frank. At home, he's got to give up his room to Stella, the blond, beautiful but surly teenaged daughter of his mother's friend who's come from Texas to stay for a while. He gets off on the wrong foot with her, too, when he forgets to fix the lock on the bedroom door, necessitating a window escape. Humor, lots of local color, and richly varied cultural details abound in this accessible, fun read, and a map of the town and sketches throughout help bring readers into Calvin's world. (It does seem odd, though, that Calvin's mother would go shopping while her new guest is locked in the bedroom.) While light on character development and more episodic than plot-driven, this title will be enjoyed by readers venturing into chapter books, and it lays the groundwork nicely for the titles to come.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Believable, funny characters populate this chronicle of fourth grader Calvin's life on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In short chapters narrated in the first person, Calvin and his friends reluctantly bid summer adieu and begin the new school year. Coinciding with this is his mom's announcement of the imminent arrival of her friend's teenage daughter from Texas. Her stay forces poor Calvin to move into the storage room, crawling with a host of creepy insects, including a centipede he captures in a jar. As the subtitle suggests, only mischief can ensue. The story line here is a familiar one of an (at times, overly) energetic but well-meaning boy stumbling into mishap. Yet the cultural details of Oahu emerge naturally, the inevitable neighborhood bully is richly developed and the familial relationships among Calvin and his sister, their mom and her boyfriend are touching, realistically tempered with moments of frustration. Rogers's lively ink-and-wash drawings augment the story and evoke a playful feel. An auspicious start to a series that is likely to have broad appeal. (Fiction. 7-10)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Calvin Coconut
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Prob'ly an Idiot

Maybe you know the feeling of how junk it is when summer ends. The good times are over. You start thinking about school, homework. Getting up early again.
And there's nothing you can do about it.

But I say, forget that. Get out there and squeeze the last drop of fun out of summer.
Which is why I was down at the beach with my friends Julio Reyes and Maya Medeiros. We were watching a kiteboarder zip over the ocean. I couldn't believe how fast he was going. "Ho, man, look at that guy go!"

Julio whistled. "Like a rocket."

The hot sun sparkled on the blue-green bay. The kiteboarder topped a small wave and let his kite pull him high into the sky. He did a flip and came back down. Perfect.

"Holy moley," I whispered.

All three of us lived a couple blocks from the beach on the same dead-end street, in a town called Kailua, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Across from our small one-story houses, patches of jungle blocked our neighborhood from a fancy golf course. High above the jungle, green mountains sat under hats of white clouds.

Julio elbowed me. "That guy's a famous kiteboarder."

"No joke? What's his name?"

Julio pinched his chin. "I forget. Something."

Maya laughed. She was cool, and really good at sports. Better than me and Julio. She had a skateboard and a brown belt in tae kwon do. She was born somewhere in China. The Medeiros family adopted her.

We were sitting on a sandy rise under a stand of ironwood trees just above the beach. It was a breezy Thursday morning, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

The kiteboarder swung around and raced toward shore. When he got as close as he could before hitting sand, he slowed and sank to his knees. His kite settled down onto the water like a small parachute. He stepped out of his wakeboard and pulled his kite in, then spread it out on the sand.

"Hey," he said. "You kids mind watching my gear? I need to run over to the pavilion."

"Sure!" I sprang to my feet.

"Thanks. Be right back."

The guy dropped his wakeboard, harness, and control bar and headed up over the rise.

The wakeboard was black with red stripes. It had foot grips and looked new. Nice. I glanced over my shoulder to see if the guy was coming back. Nope. I waggled my eyebrows at Julio and Maya. "Watch this."

I stepped into the foot straps. "Bring on the wind!"

"You better get off that, Calvin," Maya said.

I picked up the control bar, which was attached by cables to the kite spread out on the beach. "Yee-hah!" I gave the cables a flip. The kite caught a puff of wind, rose a foot, and settled back down. Ho, man, this was so cool!

I grinned at Maya and Julio.

Just then a strong gust whooshed down the beach and caught the kite. The kite blossomed and snapped up off the sand.

"Calvin!" Maya pointed.

I was still grinning at them when the wind grabbed the kite and whoomped it out like a sail. It shot down the beach, ripping the control bar right out of my hands.
"Grab it!" Julio shouted.

I leaped off the wakeboard and stumbled after it, Maya yelling, "Get it! Get it! It's flying away!"

The control bar bounced along the sand, just out of reach. It skipped out over the water, came back over the sand, and skipped out again. I dove for it and landed on my belly. But I managed to grab the bar and hang on.

The wind was strong! I couldn't slow the escaping kite. It dragged me over the shallow water on my stomach. It fishtailed me up onto the sand, then back into the water again.

"Calvin!" Maya shouted, racing down the beach with Julio.

I bounced and banged over the water, swallowing salty gulps of ocean.

"Calvin! Let go!" Julio called. "You'll drown!"

But I would never let go.

A quarter mile down the beach the wind finally let up. The kite sank onto the sand. I sank into the water, gripping the control bar with white knuckles.

Julio grabbed the kite. Maya waded into the waves. "You all right?"

I staggered up, coughing.

Maya grinned when she saw that I was okay. Just soaked, bruised, scratched, and covered with sand. "You look like you fell into a cement mixer."

"Uh-oh." Julio nodded toward the pavilion.

The kiteboard guy was racing toward us, shouting, "Hey! What's going on?"

He ran up, breathing hard.

"The wind grabbed your kite, mister." I handed him the control bar. "We, uh . . . we saved it."

The guy looked at me, then at Julio with the kite bunched and overflowing in his arms. "I must have been careless. Hey, thanks for running it down for me."

"Yeah, no problem."

He laughed. "No problem? You look like roadkill."

He gathered up his equipment and started back up the beach.

"Hey!" I called.

The guy stopped and turned back.

"Are you a famous kiteboarder?"

"Pshh. I wish."

I frowned at Julio. "You idiot."

Julio shrugged.

Maya pointed at my arms and chest. "Yikes! Blood."

I looked down. Cuts and scratches ran across me like spiderwebs. "Cool."

Maya stared at me. "I think you might be the idiot, Calvin."

"And I think you're prob'ly right." I grinned.

Julio slapped my back. "You sure know how to end summer with a bang, bro."

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Graham Salisbury is the author of several award-winning novels. His most recent book is Night of the Howling Dogs. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Jacqueline Rogers has illustrated more than 90 books for young readers over the past 20 years. She studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives in Chatham, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Trouble Magnet (Calvin Coconut Series) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a funny cool novel you should read this book I am recomending this book to you!
thebigpineapple More than 1 year ago
Fourth grader Calvin Coconut lives in Kailua, on Oahu, with his sister and their single mom. Calvin became the "man of the house" when his dad, singer Little Johnny Coconut, had a hit song, and left the family, "for the bright lights of Las Vegas." Here, Calvin explains his last name: "Coconut was my dad's idea. He made it up. For a famous singer, Little Johnny Coconut sounded way more interesting that Little Johnny Novio, which was our real last name. Dad was so pleased with himself, he made the name legal. Now we were all Coconuts." Kids will love this warm, funny, smart, true to life series. For adults who attended school in the islands, get ready for the rush of memories of da hanna-batta days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Calvin can be funny. His sister is annoying.
Todd Short More than 1 year ago
i like this book because everybody is having fun
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom is mean
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it and it wasn't the bestbut parts are iteresting though so go get the book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lkbugufdtdyhxgavg52 kfhg b"*:-5&"7*7#:+&5#6;+%6%-#/:$,*6--*&6#6"6&$5$$5@0:5;$ "*&6'-4"'CXUFVTCNCV
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u wana kno about hawaii life its awsome. I live in oahu honolulu. If u wanna golf the best places r olomana, hicumm and etc. Do not go to ala wai. Sometimes u cant putt and there r no holes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is bad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago