I know that parents and kids, love book series. They take away the uncertainty and stress of what to read next. They also allow the author to build on a bigger story line.
However, there are some really lovely books that are simply one-shot wonders. The story only needs one book to be told, and that book is thorough and well developed. I worry that these books will get lost because they are not a part of something larger. Can one gem stand out in a sea of series? I hope so, and this week I will champion their cause.
So here are my books for the week. When you are done, you will be satisfied and look back on the book with fondness. But then it is time to move on—to the next book on the list!
Title: When Life Gives You O.J.
Author: Erica S. Perl
Target: Grades 4-6
What this book is about:
Zelly really, really, really wants a dog. Did I mention she wants a dog? However, her parents are not too keen on the idea. In steps Ace (otherwise known as Grandpa), who gets Zelly to buy into his hair-brained scheme of a “practice dog,” which is really just an OJ carton with a dog face drawn on it. Zelly must treat this OJ carton like a real dog, taking it for walks/drags (lack of legs), scooping up its poop, making sure it is taken care of, in hopes that this may convince her parents to replace it with the real thing.
Why I love this book:
First of all the premise is wonderful. I love the message in this book that sometimes you must commit all the way if you really want something. Kids (and frankly adults) get so easily embarrassed to go for what they want, that I like telling kids if something is important to you, sometimes you have to take a risk.
I also loved the grandpa, Ace. He is a larger-than-life character in this book, even the type on his dialogue is IN ALL CAPS. He is a character that doesn’t disappoint.
This book has a unique focus on Jewish culture. Zelly is one of the only Jewish girls in her community, and she is both proud and challenged by this fact. It is one of the few books I have read in recent memory (Beyond Lucky being the other) that focuses on this aspect of cultural diversity. Plus, this shiksa learned a lot of great Yiddish phrases.
Who this book is for:
Anyone who really wants a dog!
Families can really drive each other nuts!
To see my full list of books that don't need to be a part of a series to be successful, visit my blog at www.onegreatbook.com