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Kids Fiction 1844
Three Times Lucky to Have Read This Book
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Murder, child abuse, and baby abandonment. You might think topics like these are a bit too mature for young readers, but with Mo LoBeau on the case, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a Big Gulp full of sweet tea ‘cause she’ll keep your young’uns in good hands.

If you couldn’t tell, Sheila Turnage’s “Three Times Lucky” is set in the tiny southern town of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina where sixth grade girl Mo LoBeau helps run a café with her adoptive parents. When not working the counter serving the locals, Mo is brushing up on her detective skills, mainly looking for her Upstream Mother, the woman who abandoned her as a baby during a hurricane. That is until her most cantankerous café client is murdered, and she drops everything to find the culprit.

Mo ain’t your typical Southern Belle, and that is absolutely her most endearing quality. She’s blunt yet never offensive and persistent without harassing. It’s through the eyes and thoughts of Mo that readers discover the adult themes of murder, abandonment, and child abuse, and this is the best possible vehicle to introduce these deep topics to children. The nitty-gritty details of the murder are never divulged, we just know that grumpy Mr. Jesse is dead. No unnerving life stories about why Mo was abandoned are given, instead readers are shown that her adoptive parents love her more than life itself. Finally, incidents of child abuse against Mo’s best friend Dale are handled delicately. They are never too graphic, and Mo becomes heartwarmingly defensive of her best friend.

In addition to Mo, what makes Turnage’s Tupelo Landing even more fantastic is that all of her characters are entertaining. There is a high amount of adult characters in this Middle Grade book, yet you can see how each one of them can amuse and keep the attention of young readers. The Colonel is goofily militant, Miss Lana is hysterically eccentric, and Mayor Little is delightfully flamboyant.

Get ready for a cheesy line to wrap up this review, but I truly feel this way: Mo might be the one to say she’s three times lucky, but I definitely feel lucky to have been able to read this book.
Good Points
A quick-witted protagonist who's not your average Southern Belle.
A small southern town full of wonderfully eccentric characters.
A presentation of mature themes that does not go too far for young readers.
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