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Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet (Calvin Coconut #1)

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  419 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published 2009)
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Apr 21, 2009 Scope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
It seems like every other book that’s published these days has a #1 slapped on the spine. I can understand why. Series books allow readers to get comfortable with characters and form a connection that can last over the course of a lot of reading. They’re also the ultimate “what do I read next” solution:

Young Reader: What should I read next?

Me: Well, you read and enjoyed the first outing of Horrible Harry, correct? Might I humbly suggest that you will likely find the second installment of interes
Sarah Sammis
Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet is the first in a new series by Graham Salisbury. Trouble always seems to find Calvin even when he's doing his best to avoid it. At home he has to give up his room to a girl from Texas. At school he's got a couple of bullies to avoid. To make matters worse, one of the bullies has a crush on the girl from Texas!

The Calvin Coconut books are set on the island of Oahu. As Graham Salisbury explains on the series website, he has set the books in his old elementary school
Abby Johnson
I asked for suggestions of diverse titles I could potentially booktalk to 3rd graders and this was one of them.

Calvin Coconut (yes, his real last name; it's a long story) is a trouble magnet. It seems no matter how hard he tries to follow the rules, trouble follows him around. Trouble might appear in the form of the school bully who just won't leave him and his friends alone, forgetting to fix the lock on his bedroom door so that their new houseguest gets trapped inside, or accidentally having
This is not a book I would have picked up were it not on the Texas Bluebonnet Elementary Reading list for 2010-2011. I found it to be a cute story that both boys and girls grades 2 to 4 would like. Fast reading. Cute illustrations. Not a very believable Texas teenage girl character comes to live with Calvin in his home in Hawaii. She's believable as a moody teen. Just not believable as a Texas teen based upon her dialogue. (Has this author even been to Texas or met a Texan?) I liked the setting ...more
Nov 24, 2008 Karlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book should be popular with primary grade children. Calvin has problems at school with a bully and problems at home where he must learn to be responsible. The author's light touch and the Hawaiian setting make the story especially entertaining.
Feb 22, 2013 Lessa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hawaiian-kidlit
As a whole, this was a good introduction to Calvin Coconut, his family, friends, and some of the differences that exist between the Continent and Hawai'i, exemplified in the new haole kid, Willy. I thought that the book did Hawai'i justice and had no mention of your usual Hawaiian stereotypes - surfing, hula, and pineapples. The book talks about the diversity of races and ethnicities found amongst Hawai'i's youth, the diversity amongst the foods they eat, and their family units. Having grown up ...more
I just finished reading Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet for the second time. The first time I read it was two summers ago because I found it at our local library and it looked like it might be a fun read. I read it and thought it was OK.

I didn’t really give it any more thought until I saw that it was one of the Lovelace Award nominees for the coming school year (2012-13). I decided to re-read it. This time I read it aloud with my children (ages 8 and 9-1/2). They LOVED it. My 9-year-old now wants
A solid start to the series, but it does like Salisbury is working too hard as he juggles the introduction of characters, setting, and multiple plotlines. The troubles with which fourth grader Calvin must deal range from the comic (a kiteboarding incident, a centipede on the loose, a food fight) to the serious (his absent father, encounters with the sixth grade bully Tito, and the arrival of Stella, his mother's best friend's daughter, who comes to stay for a while and takes over Calvin's room). ...more
Oct 03, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself actually loving this book. This is an early chapter book, perfect for transitional readers in grades 2-4. Calvin Coconut can't seem to stay out of trouble, and yet it's never really his fault. He is a lovable 4th grade native Hawaiian who has to be the man of the house and that's not easy when a strange girl from Texas arrives to live with his family! According to some other reviews of this book that I have read, Stella-from-Texas doesn't speak much like ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tweens, children
In this first book of a planned series, Graham Salisbury has created a fun and believable set of characters that represent a variety of ethnicities and offer insight into daily middle class life growing up on a Hawaiian island. The main character, Calvin struggles with the possibility that he should be the man of the house now that his father has abandoned the family to pursue his singing career. Younger readers will relate to the times when even Calvin’s best effort to be responsible seems to b ...more
Robert Beveridge
Graham Salisbury, Trouble Magnet (Wendy Lamb Books, 2009)

Salisbury kicks off his Hawaii-set series featuring pre-teen Calvin Coconut with Trouble Magnet, a cute book that introduces the characters and some basics of Hawaiian life to younger readers. I think he may underestimate the knowledge of mainlanders sometimes (is there a kid who's been to a county fair anywhere in the country who doesn't know what shave ice is?), but readers will get “ooh, gross!” kicks out of Calvin's out-of-this-world d
Jun 28, 2011 Rebecca rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it's an Oregon Battle of the Books choice for next year, so my 9 yo son will read it. It's a stupid, ridiculous story! Calvin, the main character, is 9 years old and lives in Hawaii. His dad is a famous singer, changed the family's last name to Coconut and ran off to Vegas. Now they're poor and his mom works at Macy's. He is NINE and starting 4th grade. He has to walk his 6 year old sister home from school and forgets, but they don't admit it to mom. They stay home alone afte ...more
This is a cute multicultural story for about second or third graders that starts off a long series. In this story Calvin is just starting fourth grade, trying to avoid a bully, and be responsible for his single mother. It takes place in Hawaii and most of his friends have never left the island. A new boy in school is from California; they call him a halo because he is white and doesn't know about the food they eat or things they do. In reading this story, you really see how different growing up ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Jewelian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author:Salisbury, Graham

1. It is about a boy named Calvin and a guy who won't stop pushing Calvin around until calvin told him he could meet a pretty girl named Stella.

2. Calvin is : Mischievous because he got in trouble with his teacher a lot.

3. I think the most important event was when Stella arrived and everybody would not stop looking at her especially Calvin Coconut.

4. I recommend this book to people who like the beach and stuff that you do at the beach.

5. Extend understanding: I conn
Becky Keir Grace
Fun, quick read that takes place in Kailua, Hawaii. Calvin Coconut lives with his mom and little sister, Darci. Calvin seems to have trouble follow him wherever he goes.

This book covers life in Hawaii with all the cultural diversity. A blond boy from California moves to the island and has trouble adjusting to the life at first. Calvin and his friends are warm and welcoming. They also deal with the bullies of the town. Tito was always giving Calvin and his friends trouble.

Then Calvin's family ge
I always love how Graham Salisbury makes the everyday multiculturalism of Hawaii come alive for young readers. This is the first of a promising new series about 4th grader Calvin Coconut and the everyday scrapes he gets into, in this case, running afoul of bully Tito, losing a pet centipede in class, and almost losing a man's kiteboard. From the descriptions, Calvin's family is of modest means and cluttered life (Dad left the family to pursue a singing career; Mom's boyfriend helps out around th ...more
This is a fun, charming story about a 4th grade boy named Calvin Coconut who lives in Hawaii and can't seem to keep himself out of trouble. It's definitely set up as an introduction to the series because the plot line basically felt like an excuse to introduce the reader to the characters and to life in Hawaii in general. I'm looking forward to reading more of Calvin Coconut's amusing capers in the future.

I would recommend this to 3rd-5th graders, maybe even some 2nd graders because it's a prett
Though not my type of fiction in general, I can see how this is HUGELY popular with reluctant readers and especially with boys of all ages. Calvin is just always into trouble, but even when you KNOW he shouldn't be doing something, you can't help but route for him and hope it all turns out okay. An awesome series for any boy in elementary school, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it as a birthday or Christmas present for boys who don't think they like reading. It's like Jack Gantos's "Joey Pigz ...more
Calvin is an active boy with many friends and a change on the horizon, as a young teenager named Stella comes to live with him, his little sister and single mom. Set in Hawaii, there are multiple events going on in this book, but not enough to overwhelm it. Calvin has a very diverse group of friends and I agree with what others have said about the dialogue for Stella, but she was a minor enough character that it didn't bother me. The author leaves many plot lines to develop further in the series ...more
Aug 14, 2010 Abbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Calvin Coconut really is a trouble magnet. He's trying to be the man of the house, but centipede's and bullies and bossy teenagers keep getting in the way! Maybe his new teacher, a former soldier, can straighten him out.

This is a cute little book and a good series beginning. Don't expect much resolution, though, because this is mostly about introducing the characters. This would be good for younger readers, grades 4-6, especially boys. It's a fun read. Salisbury always does a great job making Ha
Sep 27, 2009 H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty harmless late 3rd grade into 4th grade read about a boy who lives in Hawaii with his mom and little sister. Because his father (Little Johnny Coconut) is chasing fame in Las Vegas, Calvin is the man of the house at 9, even though his mom has a boyfriend. Liked the way the book casually reflects the multicultural stewpot that is Hawaii. Pretty nicely done without being too preachy or over-obvious about it. Reminds me most of "Clementine" by Sara Pennypacker in its tone, though maybe not ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Calvin is Henry Huggins. Calvin is Tom Sawyer. Calvin is the all-American boy we’ve come to know and love. In trouble most of the time, but somehow it’s not really his fault.

So we know this character, but do we? Calvin lives in Hawaii. His dad is a pop singer who hit it big and left the family for the mainland. One of Calvin’s new friends has just come to Hawaii and is having difficulty fitting in because he is white.

I like it. And it is my first official 2010-2011 Bluebonnet book. Nineteen mo
The Library Lady
This is NOT a "primary grade" or "early reader"--the kid here is in 4th grade and MY 4th grader wouldn't consider herself to be a little kid.
It IS easy to read and will have tremendous boy appeal. There's a lot of things about living in Hawaii--REAL Hawaii, not tourist Hawaii--that kids will find out here and they will be looking forward to finding out what happens next. Which is my one complaint with the box--it ends very abruptly, just torturing the kids who'll be waiting for the next installm
Nov 06, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2010-2011 Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee

This is a charming early chapter book that both boys and girls will latch onto. Salisbury's kidspeak and adultspeak are both perfect. I only had trouble with Stella-from-Texas. Her accent and manner of speech reminded me of a cranky, modern day Scarlett O'Hara. I'm not a native Texan but I do live in Texas and work in a library where I hear teenagers talk every day. It just didn't ring true for me.

The ending seemed a little abrupt, but not to worry. There'
Aug 27, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several of Salisbury's YA books (Under the Blood Red Son, Blue Skin of the Sea) and enjoyed them. This series I love so far (I've read this one and, I think, two others). Totally middle-elementary appropriate language, concerns, humor, and characters. Supportive teachers and adults in a loving, unconventional family. And, some really amazing (and positive) representations of race, class, culture, language, and gender. I wish these books were easier to find in bookstores and libraries. ...more
Ping Zhong
Mar 24, 2016 Ping Zhong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hi everybody!thank you so much for reading this review.The book I read is Called Calvin Coconut Trouble Magnet.I gave this book 4 stars because Calvin's house was messy so I thought think this whole book is messy and that teenager Stella from Texas is moving in so mom forces Calvin to clean house.It's pretty funny that Calvin finds a centipede in his family's house.In the beginning it's about when summer vacation is over.Thanks again for reading this!
May 29, 2009 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older children and parents reading with them
This is an interesting tale of Hawaiian youth angst, a boy growing up in Kailua, experiencing the beauty of the islands as well as the terror of bullies and the guilt of forgotten promises.

It's not the greatest book to read aloud, but our oldest especially liked it and I love the fact that it's set in Kailua, near where we live. It even has a map that is geographically accurate, if not to scale.

I hope to get the other book in this series at our local library as well.
Jul 18, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What is it like to live in Hawaii? What is it like to go school in Hawaii? This fun book (first in a series) tells us about Calvin. Summer is just ending and school is back in session. Calvin has a new teacher and a new classmate named Willy. Stella is a new girl living at his house, too. Calvin gets into trouble as he learns responsibility. I can't wait to read more!
Calvin Coconut can't seem to stay out of trouble. Now that he's in 4th grade, his mom expects him to take over some household responsibilities and be "the man of the house". But when his mom asks him to walk his little sister home from school - what happens? He forgets her! His own little sister! Will Calvin learn how to stay out of trouble?
If you would like to read a humorous book about a mischievous boy growing up on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, this is for you.
What a cute book! Calvin Coconut lives in Hawaii with his mom and younger sister (his father left when he was 5 to become a semi-famous singer in Las Vegas). No matter how hard he tries, Calvin can never manage to stay out of trouble. As a typical 5th grade boy, Calvin is forgetful, clumsy, and tactless - without meaning to be. He has a heart of gold, which makes this book a joyful read. I can't wait to purchase the follow-up book for my library!
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Graham Salisbury comes from a 100-year line of newspapermen, all associated with Hawaii's morning paper, the Honolulu Advertiser. Although a career as a newsman could have been possible, Salisbury chose to imagine rather than report. "I enjoy writing about characters who might have been. To me, exploring fictional themes, situations, and lives is a quietly exhilarating experience. There are times ...more
More about Graham Salisbury...

Other Books in the Series

Calvin Coconut (9 books)
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  • Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven
  • Calvin Coconut: Zoo Breath
  • Calvin Coconut: Hero of Hawaii (Calvin Coconut, #5)
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