Aces Wild

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Aces Wild book coverWhat the Book is About:

Zelly Fried has just turned eleven. She and her family live in Vermont with her grandfather, "Ace" Greenberg, and her new dog, also called "Ace." Ace-the-grandfather is loud, eccentric, and in-your-face. Ace-the-dog is always getting into trouble. Zelly is eager to have her very first sleepover, but first Ace-the-overactive-puppy must pass his doggie obedience class. Who is the best person to help with this? Why Ace-the-grandfather, of course! Or is he?

Aces Wild begins where PJ Our Way title When Life Gives You O.J.  leaves off, but it can be read as a stand-alone book.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Ace-the-grandfather peppers his conversation with spicy Yiddish words, which are explained in a kid-friendly glossary. Jewish food references (such as tzimmes, kugel, and sufganiyot) are also sprinkled throughout.
  • Zelly’s friend, Jeremy, wears a kippa (Hebrew for yarmulke; a flat, round head covering traditionally worn by Jewish boys and men) and eats only kosher food (food conforming to Jewish 
  • dietary laws). He’s preparing for his bar mitzvah (a Jewish coming of age ceremony) and talks about it with Zelly. 
  • Zelly’s family celebrates the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
  • Ace-the-grandfather describes tzedakah as giving charity and helping those in need.

Positive Role Models

  • Ace is Zelly’s eccentric grandfather. He teaches Zelly patience, perseverance, and how to take responsibility.
  • Jeremy is Zelly’s observant Jewish friend. He teaches Zelly to feel comfortable being Jewish in Burlington, VT (a town with very few Jewish families). He’s a good and loyal friend, and he always includes Zelly, even if she’s the only girl in the group.
  • ‚ÄčZelly is the protagonist of the story. She works hard to achieve her sleepover goal. 

Content Advisory


Talk it Over

Zelly’s parents won’t let her have a sleepover with an untrained puppy in the house. When Zelly suggests that having a sleepover will be her reward for training her dog, her parents say, "Write up a proposal." Would this process work in your house? 

More for You

Yiddish is a European language that combines elements of Hebrew and old German (as well as other European languages spoken by Jews). Known as the “mama loshen” (mother tongue), Yiddish was primarily spoken by Ashkenazic (Eastern European) Jews. Yiddish culture includes literature made famous by authors like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Shalom Aleichem, and music made famous by talented klezmer musicians. One of the most common Yiddish phrases in today’s English is “oy” or “oy vey”, which means “oh no!” The words “bagel” and “lox” also come from Yiddish.

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