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Episode 58 — Adventures With Erica Perl


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Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

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Grades K – 5
Podcast Series Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series

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Duration 11:54
Original Air Date Published August 01, 2013

Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.


Book Chat

Expert Chat


Book Chat

Chicken Butt! by Erica S. Perl; illustrated by Henry Cole (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009)

Have you ever been caught in a never-ending conversation with a child? This book humorously plays out a conversation between a dad and his son. It all starts with one innocent question: “You know what?” And the conversation quickly digresses from there.  This book is definitely one for the kid in your life whom always asks why and always laughs hysterically when he hears the words “chicken butt”!

Chicken Butt’s Back! by Erica S. Perl; illustrated by Henry Cole (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2011)

The boy is back, and this time he’s with his mom in the store. She has forbidden any “butt” talk, and the boy definitely holds his end of the bargain. He does not instigate any of the talk; he’s only repeating what his mom says. The fun play with words will crack kids up, but parents, beware of the monster it might create!

Dotty by Eria S. Perl; illustrated by Julia Denos (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010)

Every day Ida goes to school with her lunch box and her imaginary friend, Dotty, and all her friends do the same. But something happens after winter break. When Ida returns to school with her not-so-new lunch box and Dotty, she finds that her friends have given their imaginary friends up. Pretty soon Ida is the only one left with an imaginary friend and is a perfect target for teasing. However, there is one thing left that makes Ida feel a little better. The author and the illustrator leave clues throughout the book about a secret that only Ida and her teacher know.

Ninety-Three in My Family by Erica S. Perl; illustrated by Mike Lester  (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006)

It all starts with a simple question that gets a very big answer: How many are in your family? If you’re the boy in this book, that answer is 93! To give his teacher the answer he must describe how his family adds up to 93, which includes owls, goldfish, a pygmy hippo, a bear, llamas, and more. Kids will love the rhymes and trying to tally up the animals to see if it indeed adds up to 93.

Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early by Erica S. Perl; illustrated by George Bates (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2005)

This book counts down each passing nighttime hour as the animals around the farm get ready for bed. The hens start it off (since they are the first to rise in the morn). And then the cows and sheep follow, with the bunnies and frogs not far behind. Kids will enjoy and relate to the bedtime antics of the young animals: bunnies that ask for one more story and cows that run around and do not listen to the calls of their moms. Parents will like the soothing nature of the rhymes and definitely want to add it to their bedtime story repertoire!

When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl (Random House, 2011)

More than anything, Zelly wants a dog. But her parents, of course, don’t see it that way. Their family has just moved to Vermont because Zelly’s grandmother has recently passed away, and Zelly’s parents want her grandfather, Ace, to move in with them. Ace comes up with a clever way to help Zelly convince her parents that she should have a dog: Orange Juice Jug Plan. The Orange Juice Jug Plan involves treating an orange juice jug like a dog, even going so far as to feed, water, and walk it. Ace thinks this will convince her parents she is serious, but Zelly knows this will seal her fate as a weirdo forever! Kids will relate to Zelly’s plight and root for her plan to work.

Aces Wild by Erica S. Perl (Random House, 2013)

In this companion book to When Life Gives you O.J., Zelly is now the proud owner of Ace (the dog, not the grandpa). He is everything that she wanted—only she didn’t bargain for a dog who was quite a handful. Ever heard of a dog getting kicked out of puppy school? However, the only way that Zelly can get her parents to agree to a sleepover with friends (which is the only way that she can get invited to a sleepover) is for her to get Ace to pass the test at puppy school. With determination, Zelly re-enrolls Ace into puppy school and so ensues the ups and downs of middle school life and puppy training and family. All of which seem to cause Zelly anxiety in her life. Will Ace ever pass puppy school? Will Zelly get to have her sleepover? All are questions that can be answered if you read the book!

Expert Chat

Listen in as Erica Perl talks more about her two books When Life Gives You O.J. and Aces Wild. She talks about how she came up with the ingenious Orange Juice Jug Plan and shares what in her life was similar to main character Zelly’s life.

For more information about Erica Perl, visit her website: http://www.ericaperl.com/. Read her Engage blog post, A Book Is a Friend for Life, to learn more about her work with First Book.