In three brief episodes, Julie is convinced that class bully Danny has kidnapped her puppy; her athletic cousin, Effie, thinks Julie wants her to lose an important race; and Effie befriends her gregarious rival, Donna.
With Mom busy caring for Julie’s twin baby brothers and Dad nearly always on business trips, she’s left on her own to figure out what might have become of Shakshuka. Since, in a fit of angry frustration, she accused Danny of throwing a potted plant at her (which she actually threw at him), he has every reason to want revenge. Surely that’s the reason the puppy is missing and not that, with her neglect contributing, Shakshuka just wandered away. When that puzzle is solved with some help from a friend, Julie next has to deal with her strong-minded school principal, who isn’t happy that someone is giving quiet Effie encouraging but flashy gifts. When everyone blames Julie, she must figure out who’s really behind the scheme. Finally, Effie befriends her popular rival, leaving Julie quite jealous. Related in Julie’s often funny, frequently self-centered first person, this Israeli import (originally published as three separate titles) depicts seemingly white grade schoolers in more-or-less familiar situations, navigating the complex waters of early childhood. That reforming bully Danny is fully dimensional is both unusual and welcome.
A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution. (Fiction. 7-10)