When Life Gives You O.J

When Life Gives You O.J

Book - 2011
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Zelly Fried wants a dog more than anything, so at the urging of her grandfather, during the summer before sixth grade she takes care of a "practice dog" made out of an orange juice jug to show her parents that she is ready for the responsibility, even though she is sometimes not entirely sure about the idea.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375859243
Branch Call Number: PER
Characteristics: 198 p.

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garimag
Feb 03, 2016

garimag thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Apr 07, 2012

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12

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KristiBernard
Oct 26, 2013

Zelda Fried, pronounced freed, wants a dog, wants to go to camp Sonrise with her best friend Allie, and she wants to move back to her old neighborhood. That's quite a bit for an almost eleven year old going int the sixth grade.

When Zelly asks her parents if she can go to camp with her best friends, the answer was no, although her parents congratulated her for making a good case. The problems is they've recently moved to Vermont to a new house. You see, she recently lost her grandmother whom she fondly referred to as Bubbles. Her grandfather Ace lives with them now, and since everyone is adjusting to the recent loss and move, Zelly and her brother Sam will be spending time with family.

In an effort to connect with Zelly, Ace comes up with a plan to see if Zelly is ready to take responsibility for a pet. It all starts with a note:

Kid,
See me immediately when you get this.
Do not speak of this to anyone,
not even your parents or your brother.
Ace
p.s. I hope are are ready for this.

Zelly is to take care to feed, water and walk a new makeshift pet. This pet is an old orange juice jug. She is forced to adapt to treating this old jug like a real dog. She makes a face and some spots on her new pet and names it O.J. As she adjusts to this crazy situation she awaits for letters from Allie, makes a new friend and tries to earn the trust of her parents so that she can get a real dog.

This hilarious story of family and friendship will have readers flipping through the pages and sharing the laughter of this Jewish family. Readers will learn some funny Yiddish terms and grow to love Ace and his antics with Zelly and Sam.

The back of the book has a glossary of Yiddish words like Chutzpah, which means “nerve” or “meshuggener” which is a crazy person. Parents and teachers will love this lighthearted family tale which will open the door to a culture they will embrace.

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Apr 07, 2012

That Zelly wants a dog is no secret. That her parents are not inclined to give in to her demands is understood. She begs. They refuse. So when she receives a note in her room one day that makes no sense, she has no idea what she’s getting into. It reads: “KID, SEE ME IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU GET THIS. DO NOT SPEAK OF THIS TO ANYONE, NOT EVEN YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR BROTHER. ACE. P.S. I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR THIS.” Ace is Zelly’s grandfather who is now living with her family ever since the death of Zelly’s beloved bubbe (grandmother). He’s a bit nutty and his plan seems to follow suit. Handing his granddaughter an empty orange juice container, Ace tells Zelly that all she has to do is treat it like a dog. You know. Take it for walks, feed it (a disgusting combo of dog food and water), clean up its poop (see: disgusting combo of dog food and water), etc. Of course, Zelly’s parents aren’t on board with this plan, and she has other things on her mind distracting her. There’s the fact that her new friend went away to Bible camp and never wrote her. There’s a new boy who’s Jewish like she is and super friendly. And let’s not forget the bully who would never let Zelly forget it if he saw her walking a wet dog food filled orange juice jug. Things aren’t easy for Zelly and getting a dog appears to be the hardest thing of all. A glossary of Yiddish words appears at the end.

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Apr 07, 2012

For all that When Life Gives You O.J. seems to be a silly story about a girl lugging an orange juice container around her block, it has the ability to make the reader think big. About familial relations and how we hold the living accountable for not being the idealized dead. About fitting in with the people you thought understood you. About getting what you want at any cost, even the high price of looking ridiculous. Erica Perl has placed a fascinating little title in a seemingly simple package. Top drawer all around.

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Apr 07, 2012

“KID, SEE ME IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU GET THIS. DO NOT SPEAK OF THIS TO ANYONE, NOT EVEN YOUR PARENTS OR YOUR BROTHER. ACE. P.S. I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR THIS.”

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