Books by Erica S. Perl

ALL THREE STOOGES by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 9, 2018

"An authentically awkward exploration of grief particularly well-suited for preteen boys. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Seventh-grader Noah Cohen and his best friend, Dash, eat, sleep, and breathe comedy, so it's no surprise they choose to research Jewish comedians for their mitzvah project at Hebrew school, even if it means partnering with Noah's female nemesis, Noa Cohen. Read full book review >
THE CAPYBARA CONSPIRACY by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 11, 2016

"Humorous and cleverly constructed, this deserves a 'hoof five.' (Fiction. 10-14)"
A seventh-grader's play chronicles the rise and demise of a kidnapping plot and the contradictory motives of the conspirators. Read full book review >
FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 19, 2016

"Another crowd pleaser from the creators of Chicken Butt! (2009). (Picture book. 6-8)"
A pet hamster comes to Room 2-D: So cute! So fluffy! So…toothy. Read full book review >
TOTALLY TARDY MARTY by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"This one can be permanently late. (Picture book. 4-7) "
A young boy who's always late for school learns to be on time and finds a friend along the way. Read full book review >
GOATILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 3, 2014

"An uninspiring remake. (Picture book. 4-8)"
This Goldilocks is a kid. Literally. Read full book review >
KING OF THE ZOO by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2013

"Unfortunately, this mishmash of a tale ultimately disappoints. (Picture book. 3-6)"
In this shallow story, Carlos the chameleon is sure that he is the king of the zoo—and he always will be as long as someone believes in him. Read full book review >
ACES WILD by Erica S. Perl
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 11, 2013

"For dog-loving readers who appreciate light entertainment and lots of capital letters. (dog-training tips, Yiddish glossary) (Fiction. 9-12)"
This companion to When Life Gives You O.J. (2011) returns to the tribulations of 11-year-old Zelda "Zelly" Fried, now spending her first winter living in Vermont. Read full book review >
WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU O.J. by Erica S. Perl
ANIMALS
Released: June 14, 2011

"Yiddish words and phrases and various Jewish customs are sprinkled liberally throughout and defined in a glossary, which might help the novel reach more than a niche audience. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Be careful what you wish for is the premise of this mildly amusing novel about a girl who aches for a dog. Read full book review >
CHICKEN BUTT'S BACK! by Erica S. Perl
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2011

Perl's young champion of all things gluteus returns in an evermore zany salute to the nether regions. As in Chicken Butt! (2009), this book can be read as a duet, although that will only apply to the "up" end of its stated audience for 3-year-olds and up. The text crackles: "Hey, you know what? / In fact, I do! And where and why and how and who. / But, Mom! / I'll make this crystal clear: no more ‘Chicken Butt!' my dear…" And Coles' tickled-pink cartoonish artwork gets right into the mix, the chocolate chip to the cookie dough. The wordplay of inversions allows the boy to find butts aplenty as mother and son roam the aisles of a supermarket, there to find a deer butt, a cat butt, a witch butt, even a bear butt. "Stop right there," says mom. "But wait!" says her son. "He's eating under there! / He's what? Who's eating under where?" You see where this is going, and the force of gravity leads the text to poop and fart, which may be inevitable but feels like a shopworn laugh at the expense of more loopily inventive repartee. But still, the denouement is so merrily explosive that just to imagine the shrieking voices of a read-aloud is mightily cheering. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
DOTTY by Erica S. Perl
by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

Ida is ready for a new year at school—complete with her new lunchbox and her imaginary friend, Dotty. Dotty is no subtle, live-in-the-pocket, garden-variety imaginary friend. She is a large, horned buddy with giant red polka dots that match Ida's festive T-shirt. Ms. Raymond, Ida's teacher, seems unperturbed by Dotty or any of the other extra friends who accompany her new pupils—from Keekoo, Katya's tiny braid-inhabiting friend, to Benny's sharp-toothed Spike. As the year goes by, some of these imaginary friends stop attending school, but not Dotty. When classmates make fun of Dotty, Ida's large, quiet friend shows her real power. Denos's whimsical ink illustrations show a confident, freckled girl with her own sense of style, sure of her place in the world whether she has Dotty in tow or not. She includes pleasing touches just right for elementary-school fashionistas: Ms. Raymond's scarf warns careful readers of a surprise at the end, and Ida's dotted clothing ties her to her friend forever. A charmer. (Picture book. 4-9)Read full book review >
VINTAGE VERONICA by Erica S. Perl
FICTION
Released: March 9, 2010

Funky retro garb is the flashiest part of this unsurprising growth arc about insecurity and dishonesty. Ignorant of her age, The Clothing Bonanza hires Veronica, 15, to work third-floor consignment, sending items down to Dollar-a-Pound (first floor, wearable rags) or The Real Deal (second floor, vintage apparel). The solitary job is a dream for this friendless girl, who is accustomed to being rejected. Although she supposedly hasn't trusted anyone since age ten, however, she's implausibly quick to accept overtures from the dangerous retail girls of The Real Deal; she feels powerless to walk away but seems also to hope they might not be mean, despite incontrovertible evidence. Revulsion for Len, a frail, peculiar, lizard-collecting employee, shifts realistically into attraction, but both Len and Veronica undermine their budding romance with lies. While it's hard to believe Veronica's confusing pattern of trust/mistrust, readers may well be inspired to buy—or scavenge and alter—some hip outfits like her "poufy" '50s skirts (hacked off from old prom dresses), "tulle crinoline" and bowling shirts. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
CHICKEN BUTT! by Erica S. Perl
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2009

On one hand, this is an utter goofball of a book, an unhinged piece of slap-happy rhyming. On the other, it is a challenge to engage. It depends on the reader's mood. If that mood is like the father here—preoccupied, disconnected, maybe a bit grumpy—it could probably use this type of elevation. "You know what?" asks a boy. "What?" says his dad, slouching behind the newspaper. "CHICKEN BUTT!" hollers the boy, which gets his dad's attention. "You know why?" "Why?" "CHICKEN THIGH!" Off the book goes, very merrily energetic, served on a plate of Cole's rocket-propelled artwork (which features gleeful close-ups of the chicken anatomy in question). Read as a duet, the romp is a powerful piece of cacophony, more frenetic by the moment, which the book's targeted age group will allow for only at the upper end—so some rapid voice-flipping will be necessary. Then again, if an adult reader's mood is already fine, this über-farce may send that adult, like this book's dad, round the bend, where a drink should be waiting. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
NINETY-THREE IN MY FAMILY by Erica S. Perl
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

A huge menagerie shares digs with a family of five. The oversized (purple-haired) teacher asks the bug-eyed little boy, "How many live with you?" And he answers, "Ninety-two." Skepticism leads to his illustrated explanation. Lester's busy pictures—in pen and ink, scanned in a computer and digitally colored—are full of jokes large (all the animals crammed into a car), small (in a pizza-ordering tableau, little goldfish in a bowl holding a sign that declares, "No anchovies!), and in between. In one priceless picture, the little boy stands on a tall stool and aims a blow dryer at the 27 flapping owls while his two sisters Darlene and Winifred dutifully mop the floor and a frog peeks out from behind a leg of the stool. Perl's narrative describes the chief challenges for the family with all the animals in bouncy verse: fighting over the TV, taking a bath, bedtime, etc. Rib-tickling romp with many counting opportunities for young listeners. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >