When Life Gives You O.J.-Erica S. Perl

A few weeks ago I saw the book trailer for the book “When Life Gives You O.J.” and I thought sweet, this looks like a cute little funny book that my dog loving fourth graders will eat up.  I didn’t take the book too seriously thinking it would be more funny then meaningful.  I ordered the book and placed in in my “To Be Read” pile.

Fast forward two weeks:

I loved the book!

“When Life Gives you OJ” is the story Zelly and her quest to get a real life dog.  Being in a new home in a new town, her parents don’t think that Zelly and the family are ready for the commitment that comes with getting a new dog. Zelly’s grandfather has a plan of his own.  He feels that if Zelly can convince her parents that she is in fact ready to take care of a dog, then she will get that prized “pup” she so desires.  Unfortunately, Ace, her grandfather, believes that taking care of a fake dog made from an empty OJ  container is the way to do the convincing.  Can you imagine the horror of being a new kid in town and having to walk, and clean up after a bottle of OJ?

Woowzah!  This book really surprised me.  Yes, it was funny.  Yes, my fourth graders will eat this up.  Cute little funny book: No way.  I was pleasantly surprised with the depth to “When Life Gives You OJ”.  This just a book about a girl trying to get a dog.  This was a book about: being the new kid, not fitting in, religious differences, losing a loved one, and friendship.

Being a friend and know what makes a good friend is not easy for 10ish year-olds, and this book does a wonderful job of showing how the best friends in life are not always the ones that we expect.  This book has staying power.


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