A few weeks ago I saw the book trailer for the book “When Life Gives You O.J.” and I thought sweet, this looks like a cute little funny book that my dog loving fourth graders will eat up. I didn’t take the book too seriously thinking it would be more funny then meaningful. I ordered the book and placed in in my “To Be Read” pile.
Fast forward two weeks:
I loved the book!
“When Life Gives you OJ” is the story Zelly and her quest to get a real life dog. Being in a new home in a new town, her parents don’t think that Zelly and the family are ready for the commitment that comes with getting a new dog. Zelly’s grandfather has a plan of his own. He feels that if Zelly can convince her parents that she is in fact ready to take care of a dog, then she will get that prized “pup” she so desires. Unfortunately, Ace, her grandfather, believes that taking care of a fake dog made from an empty OJ container is the way to do the convincing. Can you imagine the horror of being a new kid in town and having to walk, and clean up after a bottle of OJ?
Woowzah! This book really surprised me. Yes, it was funny. Yes, my fourth graders will eat this up. Cute little funny book: No way. I was pleasantly surprised with the depth to “When Life Gives You OJ”. This just a book about a girl trying to get a dog. This was a book about: being the new kid, not fitting in, religious differences, losing a loved one, and friendship.
Being a friend and know what makes a good friend is not easy for 10ish year-olds, and this book does a wonderful job of showing how the best friends in life are not always the ones that we expect. This book has staying power.