Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog.
Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.
Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!
Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.
"A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution.” –Kirkus Reviews
"Will resonate with readers and have them waiting for more installments.” –Booklist
About the Author
Galia Oz is a prizewinning children’s writer and a documentary filmmaker. She won the Levi Eshkol Prize for Literary Works, and her Shakshuka stories are some of the most beloved in Israeli children’s literature. Oz lives with her family in Ramat Hasharon.
Read an Excerpt
My puppy, Shakshuka, disappeared. It happened when my dad was away on a business trip and my mom was in one of her worst moods ever because Max and Monty had both just had their vaccinations and they both had reactions and they didn’t sleep all night. Max and MontyI called them the Munchkins for shortwere babies and twins and also my brothers, and everyone knew that if there were two babies in the house, no one was going to pay any attention to a dog, even if she was only a baby herself.
At night, I lay awake in bed and I was cold, and I remembered that once on TV I saw pictures of a hungry dog that was really skinny whose family went on a vacation and left him tied to a tree. And they said that the SPCA couldn’t take care of all the dogs that were abandoned by their families. And I thought about Shakshuka, who was gone and might be tied to a tree at that very minute, hungry and missing me.
The next morning in class, Brody told me there was no way that Shakshuka had been stolen. “No way, Julie!” he said. “Why would anyone bother? You could get five dogs like her, with spots and stripes, for less than ten dollars.” Or maybe he said you could get ten dogs like her for less than five dollars. Brody said things like that sometimes, but most of the time he was okay. When Max and Monty were born, he said that was it, no one at home would ever pay attention to me again, and when I cut my hair short, he said it was ugly.
I turned my back on Brody and pretended to listen to Adam. He sat at the desk next to mine and spent his whole life telling these crazy stories.
Adam said, “My father won f‑f-fifty thousand, do you get it? In the lottery. He’s g‑going to buy me an i‑P‑P . . .”
People didn’t always listen to Adam because he stuttered, and they didn’t always have the patience to wait until he got the word out. This time Brody tried to help him finish his sentence.
“N‑not an i‑P-Pod, you idiot. An i‑P-Pad.”
Brody called Adam “Ad-d-d-dam” because of his stutter, and because he liked to be annoying. But he was still my friend, and that was just how it was, and anyway, there were lots of kids worse than he was.
I cried about Shakshuka during morning recess and Danny laughed at me because that was Danny, that was just the way he was, and Duke also laughed, obviously, because Duke was Danny’s number two. But at the time I didn’t know that they had anything to do with Shakshuka’s disappearance and kept telling myself that maybe they were just being mean, as usual.
That Danny, everyone was afraid of him. And they’d have been nuts not to be. It was bad enough that he was the kind of kid who would smear your seat with glue and laugh at you when you sat down; that he and his friends would come up and offer you what looked like the tastiest muffin you’d ever seen, and when you opened your mouth to take a bite you discovered it was really a sponge. But none of that was important. The problem was, he remembered everything that anyone had ever done to him, and he made sure to get back at them. The day before Shakshuka disappeared, Mrs. Brown asked us what a potter did, and Danny jumped up and said that a potter was a person who put plants in pots, but Mrs. Brown said that was not what a potter did. And then I raised my hand and said that a potter was a person who worked with clay and made pottery.
Danny, who sat right behind me, leaned forward and smacked my head, and I said, “Ow.” It wasn’t too bad, but the teacher saw him and she wrote a note he had to take home to his parents. That shouldn’t have been so bad either, but later, when school got out, he grabbed me in the yard and kicked me in the leg. I went flying and crashed into the seesaw, where I banged my other leg as well.
Danny said, “If you hadn’t said ‘Ow’ before in class, the teacher wouldn’t have given me a note. Now because of you I’m suspended. That was my third note.”
Our school had this system that every time a kid hit another kid, he got a note he had to take home to his parents, and if it happened three times his parents had to come to school and the kid got sent home. My mother said it was mainly a punishment for the parents, who had to miss a day of work and come to school.
I could have told on him for kicking me in the yard as well. My bag flew off my shoulder and landed right in the middle of a puddle, and Mom was really angry at me when I got home because we had to take out all the books and leave them out to dry and we had to wash the bag. I really could have told on him, but there wouldn’t have been any point. It would just have meant another note for him, another kick for me.
Thanks but no thanks.
In the evening, when the Munchkins went to sleep, Mom took one look at me and burst out laughing and said she wished that you could buy a doll that looked just like me, with scratches on her right knee, black dirt under her fingernails, and a mosquito bite on her cheek.
“It’s not a bite, it’s a bruise,” I told her. “And anyway, who would buy a doll like that?”
“I would,” said Mom. “But what happened to you? Take a look at your legshow on earth . . .”
“Ow! Don’t touch.”
“You look as if you were in a fight with a tiger.”
That was so close to the truth that I blurted out the whole story about what happened with Danny. And I was really sorry I did that because that was the reason Shakshuka disappeared. Mom spoke to Mrs. Brown and she must have told her I was black-and-blue after Danny pushed me because the next day at school Mrs. Brown took me aside and told me that I had to let her know whenever something like that happened because otherwise Danny would just keep on hitting me, and other kids too, and we had to put a stop to it. Mrs. Brown meant well, but I knew that when it came to Danny, I was on my own.
Later, at the end of the day, Danny caught me again, this time when I was right by the gate. Maybe someone saw me talking to the teacher and told him. Suddenly I was lying on the ground with my face in the dirt. I must have shouted because Danny told me to keep quiet.
Then he said, “Tell me what you told Mrs. Brown!”
“Let me get up!” I yelled.
“First tell me what you told her.”
“Let me get up!” My neck was all twisted, but somehow I managed to turn to the side and I saw two first graders walking out of the building toward the gate.
Danny must have seen them too because he let me go, and when I stood up he looked at me and started laughing, probably because of the dirt on my face, and I decided I’d had enough of this jerk. I saw red, no matter where I looked I saw red, and without thinking about what grown-ups always taught usthat we shouldn’t hit back because whoever hit back would be punished just like the one who started itI threw a plant at him.
At the entrance to our school there was this huge plant. The nature teacher once told us that it grew so big because it always got water from this pipe that dripped down into it, and also because it was in a protected corner.
It was a shame about the plant, it really was. And it didn’t even hit him. It crashed to the ground halfway between us. Then Mrs. Brown came. And without even thinking I told her that Danny knocked me down and then threw the plant at me.
“But it didn’t hit me,” I said, and I looked Danny straight in the eye to see what he’d say.
Danny said I was a liar, but Mrs. Brown took one look at my dirty clothes and she believed me. And because of me he got into serious trouble. They didn’t only make his parents come to school and suspend him for a dayafter the incident with the plant they also told him he’d have to start seeing this really horrible counselor every Wednesday. The kids who knew him said his office stunk of cigarettes and he was a real bore.
That was why Danny found a way to get back at me. He said, “Just you wait.” That was exactly what he said: “Just you wait.” And I did wait because I knew him. But Shakshuka didn’t wait and she couldn’t have known how to wait for what ended up happening to her.
The day after Shakshuka disappeared and we’d already searched for her all over the neighborhood, we sat at Brody’s house and Effie came over. Brody lived on the floor above me, and Effie, who was my cousin, lived opposite us. She came over sometimes to play with us. Effie could run really fast, faster than any of the boys, and in the afternoons she went to all kinds of activities, like Learning How to Survive a Disaster. But she never opened her mouth in class and she was never a part of things. I liked Effie, but I didn’t always have time to pay attention to her.
I told Effie and Brody it must have been Danny because Shakshuka disappeared just a few hours after he promised to get even. Brody said it wasn’t that easy to steal a dog. You had to put it somewhere and it made noise, and then your parents asked where you got it. “But what if he just left her somewhere?” I asked Brody, and I couldn’t help thinking again about the dog I had seen on television, tied to a tree.
Effie didn’t say anything. She just stared at the screen saver on the computer. Brody said that Shakshuka was probably out there somewhere, making friends and eating food from garbage cans. She loved everyone, that Shakshuka.
I’d only had her for a couple of weeks, ever since she showed up in the yard of our building when we were playing there, and Mom said, “Julie, I don’t have the energy to take care of anything else, even if it’s a plant.” But Shakshuka was nothing like a plant. She never stopped moving and wagging her tail and wriggling and she licked Max inside his mouth and he actually really liked that and he shouted “Da!” and Monty was a little scared at first, but then he started crawling around following her and pulling her tail. Mom said that the next time that dog put her tongue in a kid’s mouth she was going to teach her a lesson she’d never forget. But Shakshuka wasn’t impressed at allshe immediately turned to Max and licked him and we all laughed, even Mom. When Dad came home he thought she was great and he wanted to take her to the vet to get her shots, but then he went off on another business trip. In the two weeks I’d had her I didn’t even manage to memorize all her spots and stripes, so I was trying to remember them now.
Apart from Effie, Brody, and me, only Brody’s grandmother was at home, which was usually fine because she was always in the living room watching TV or sitting on the balcony and staring at the yard. But then Effie and I got bored sitting in Brody’s room and watching him score points in his computer game, so we went into the living room.
Brody came out and asked his grandmother to change the channel, and she looked at him with her huge eyes, which always looked even bigger behind her glasses, and said, “But he’s talking. You can’t interrupt him while he’s talking.”
“He’s just an announcer, Gran. He’s reading the news.”
“He’s talking to us right now, and you can’t interrupt him,” said Brody’s grandmother. “It would hurt his feelings.”
Brody’s grandmother was sure the announcers on television could hear what we said and she worried about hurting their feelings. Sometimes Brody and his sister, Nina, got into this crazy mood and they started annoying the announcers on TV.
“Not her again! I’m tired of seeing her face every time we turn on the TV. Can’t we watch something else?” Nina jumped up and covered the television screen with a cushion, and Brody’s grandmother shouted, “That’s enough! Sha! Quiet! Such rudeness!”
Sometimes it ended with Brody’s grandmother cursing in Russian, and then Brody burst out laughing and started a pillow fight with Nina, and that was when Brody’s grandmother took the opportunity to apologize to the announcers. And sometimes she got really angry and said, “Because of you, she went away.”
“She didn’t go away because of us, Gran. She went because the lady who does the weather forecast told her to go away,” said Nina.
Brody’s grandmother thought all the neighbors were eavesdropping on her through the pipes. And yesterday evening she stood on the balcony and shouted that there were thieves outside. She was sure she had loads of enemies. She really was a poor thing and it wasn’t right that Brody and his sister made fun of her, even though Brody said it was also a way to give her some attention.
“Besides, we’re not laughing at her; we’re laughing with her,” said Brody.
I never believed it when people said that.
And you couldn’t laugh with Brody’s grandmother anyway because she never laughed. I guess she didn’t have much of a sense of humor. I wasn’t sure Effie had a sense of humor either. Once, when the three of us were playing in Brody’s living room, Effie stared at Brody’s grandmother for a long time and then said out loud, “What’s wrong with her? Is she talking to herself?”
But Brody’s grandmother wasn’t talking to herself. She was talking to the wall. Actually, she was talking to the picture hanging on the wall. And that was a lot less strange than talking to yourself.
And just before we left Brody’s house, Effie said, “You know, he was here yesterday evening.”
“Danny,” she said calmly. “Danny was here with Duke.”