In Oggie Cooder's second delightful outing, he is actually invited to mean girl neighbor Donnica Perfecto's swimming party after he has experienced long-term tremendous yearning to plunge into her pool. Oggie is so thrilled; he makes his peculiar pleased sound by fluttering his tongue against the roof of his mouth: "Prrrr-ip! Prrrr-ip!"
What he doesn't know is that Donnica's mother insisted that her daughter invite Oggie; she wants to stay on Oggie's mom's good side. Mrs. Cooder helps Mrs. Perfecto with her gardening, and Mrs. Perfecto wants her landscaping to be nice enough that she will be considered for membership in the Wawatosa Gardening Club. In fact, Donnica is determined to keep Oggie from actually attending her party. Donnica is in a snit in general about her birthday festivities since she wanted (and, because she is spoiled, she also expected) the rock band Cheddar Jam to play at her party. With the news that her father hired Bumbles the Juggling Bear instead of Cheddar Jam, Donnica is bound to be in a dreadful funk, which makes her even more resolute about keeping Oggie from attending the party.
While Oggie is innocently looking forward to being a guest at Donnica's party and trying to decide what to give her as a present, his own life goes on. He spends time researching inventors. After all, Oggie hopes to invent something someday. He truly pays attention when librarian Ms. Hepper informs him that "Necessity is the mother of invention." Hmm. A tip like that could change a young boy's life...or even alter the course of a book's plot. Meanwhile, Oggie must answer that eternal question "Who am I?" in the form of an assigned Japanese poetry haiku, and he also makes the acquaintance of the phone company repair people, who rise up in the air in a "cherry picker" to work on the telephone lines.
When Donnica informs Oggie that he can only attend her party if he can memorize (and follow) 101 B.P.R.'s (Birthday Party Rules), it seems that her ploy will keep Oggie home on the big day. But Oggie's good friend, Amy Schneider, is determined that he will attend, even though Oggie tells her he is a poor memorizer. The solution to Oggie's memorization problem is clever --- and might inspire readers to use the same tool as a memory aid.
Oggie is a likable character and a true innocent. Sometimes his cluelessness feels a bit extreme, but it sets him up for amusing situations. The plot moves rapidly along, and the battle over whether or not Oggie will attend Donnica's party adds suspense. There's a very nice twist in the story when a boy who dislikes girls discovers the only person who shares his passionate interest is a female. Readers are also bound to admire the way author Sarah Weeks manages to weave together a handful of disparate threads --- including a new-found friend, a juggling bear, a cherry picker filled with repair people, second-hand trousers, a rock band, a creative main character and a whistling dog --- into a truly delightful, cohesive story that is likely to incite fans to imitate Oggie's purr of pleasure: "Prrrr-ip! Prrrr-ip!"
--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (firstname.lastname@example.org)