When Life Gives You O.J.

  • Review
By – January 10, 2012
Ten-year-old Zel­ly wants a dog and she’d do just about any­thing to getone. But when Grand­pa con­cocts anunusu­al scheme to help her, Zel­ly won­ders if this time he’s real­ly gonecrazy. The plan? Take an old orange juice jug, attach a leash­to it, and, presto – you have a dog. Aprac­tice dog, that is. To show her­par­ents how respon­si­ble she is, all Zel­ly has to do is feed her dog” and walk­it three times a day. Zel­ly has her­doubts but agrees to try it. But her“dog”, now named O.J., brings with it a big prob­lem: what will the oth­er kid­s­think when they see her walk­ing an orange juice jug? She con­tem­plates giv­ing up the whole idea until she meets Jere­my, her new neigh­bor. With his encour­age­ment and sup­port, Zel­ly comes to see the val­ue offam­i­ly and of true friend­ship. Eri­ca­Perl cap­ti­vates her read­ers while sub­tly weav­ing in those two mes­sages. The focus is def­i­nite­ly on Zelly’soften-humorous attempts to care for O.J. Sprin­kled through­out the sto­ry are Grandpa’s Yid­dish words and­phras­es. Although these are often­ex­plained by Zel­ly, there is also a glos­sary in the back that defines each­word. When Life Gives You O.J. isa delight­ful chap­ter book that ear­ly mid­dle-grade girls are cer­tain toen­joy. While there are no illustrations(except for the book cov­er), the writ­ing is vivid and the images and sceneswell described. I high­ly rec­om­mend this­book for any girl who wants a pet of her own. 

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

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