The Rossis (Much Ado About Aldo, 1978) have moved to Woodside, New Jersey, and while suburbia has its attractions--notably, a house for the family and others, potentially (a doghouse, a birdhouse), for the animals nine-year-old Aldo loves--it also exacts a price: in his new school, vegetarian Aldo R. is quickly known as Applesauce. But the lunchroom mishap that earns him that embarrassing moniker also advances his acquaintanceship with classmate DeDe--who, unaccountably, wears a false moustache. She, at least, is ""interesting""; and through a tiresome afternoon of bowling, through a discomfitting birthday party (featuring hot dogs and hamburgers), Aldo wishes for a chance to know her better. Then she suggests they get together and writes her phone number on the back of his hand--but successive washings leave it a blur! The denouement brings them together, explains the moustache (a desire to resemble her removed-by-divorce father), and rids Aldo of his unhappiness about being tagged ""Applesauce."" It also involves one of those triumph-from-disaster family scenes that Hurwitz does so well: sister Karen's carefully prepared, half-cooked chocolate applesauce cake is happily devoured by Aldo's other friends, the squirrels and birds. ""It was nice to think that whether the cake succeeded or failed it would still be enjoyed."" That candor and resilience, manifest here as in the first book, make Aldo and his folks very much worth knowing.