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ACES WILD by Erica S. Perl


by Erica S. Perl

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-307-93172-6
Publisher: Knopf

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.

In the first book, Zelly yearned for a dog. Well-meaning buttinsky Grandpa Ace, whose pronouncements, laced with Yiddish words and phrases, are rendered in large capitals, advised practicing with a plastic orange-juice jug. Now Zelly’s finally got her pet, also named Ace. Like Grandpa, the pooch is completely irrepressible. Zelly’s parents tell her the dog must pass his training course if she wants to throw a slumber party. This ordeal, along with having to deal with newly widowed Grandpa’s sudden enjoyment of female companionship, seems more than Zelly can handle. This novel is as mildly amusing as the first, and Zelly remains a likable girl with a realistic voice, though the parents (and other characters) are superficially drawn. Some may wonder why the onus of the dog’s perfect obedience is placed solely on Zelly’s shoulders, not to mention why a party must depend on it. More problematic: Even secular readers won’t buy that a Jewish family who observes every Hanukkah tradition doesn’t know exactly when the holiday begins. In addition, in “Zelly’s glossary” of Yiddish words, there’s no mention that a yarmulke (or kipa) is worn by males only.

For dog-loving readers who appreciate light entertainment and lots of capital letters. (dog-training tips, Yiddish glossary) (Fiction. 9-12)