Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Karla Oceanak
Illustrator:  Kendra Spanjer 
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 11
Bailiwick Press, 2010   ISBN: 978-1934649060

Aldo Zelnick is in deep trouble. Just a few days ago Aldo and his friend Jack found a ring with a sparkling stone set in it. Aldo was convinced that the ring was fake and “obviously bogus,” but Jack was not so sure. Jack breathed on the stone and it did not fog up, which is what happens with real diamonds. Aldo still thought the stone was fake, and he was more interested in getting a snack than in examining the ring. He dismissed Jack’s opinion in a very offhand, and rather unkind, manner.

Later, Aldo put the ring his fish’s fishbowl to make it more interesting. Jack then asked to examine the ring further, and Aldo took it to his friend’s house. Jack determined that the stone in the ring was the real deal, an honest-to-goodness diamond. Aldo was still not really convinced, even though Jack is very knowledgeable about rocks and gemstones. The boys decided to take the ring to Mr. Mott, Aldo’s neighbor, to ask him what they should do with the ring, but Mr. Mott wasn’t home. After many other adventures, the boys finally decided to ask Aldo’s father about the ring, which is when Aldo lost it. Somehow the ring just disappeared.

Since the ring vanished, Aldo, his father, and Aldo’s friends have looked and looked for it, but they haven’t been able to find it. Then Aldo’s mother tells them about the notice in the paper asking for people to look for a lost diamond ring. Oh brother! The ring was real after all, and there is a $1000 reward waiting for the person who finds it and returns it to the owner. Aldo cannot believe he was so close to having so much money in his hand. If only he can find that ring before someone else does. Then Aldo starts thinking in big picture terms. Could it be that his unkind treatment of Jack was now coming back to him? Could it be true that karma is real, and that is why he lost the ring?

There are times when doing the right thing is hard to do, when putting others first is more than a little challenging. In this second Aldo book, the author explores this idea through Aldo’s eyes. Aldo is a very realistic character who finds it hard to accept the idea that giving can be better than receiving, and it is both thought-provoking and sometimes to amusing to see how he struggles to come to terms with the concept.

The Aldo Zelnick books beautifully bring together a journal format, a vocabulary rich story, and important life lessons, to give readers a memorable reading experience.