Cover image for The trouble with Zinny Weston
The trouble with Zinny Weston
Koss, Amy Goldman, 1954-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1998]

Physical Description:
108 pages ; 22 cm
Animal lover Ava feels torn about what she should do when she hears that her best friend's mother has drowned a raccoon in a garbage can.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 3.0 42828.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Can this friendship be saved?

Zinny Weston has been Ava's best friend since the moment they met. There's only one problem: Ava's house is like a zoo, and Zinny's idea of a pet is a fur coat When the Westons get a fishpond in their backyard, Ava hopes Zinny might finally be turning into an animal lover. Then a raccoon starts eating the fish, and soon the rumors start flying. What did Mrs. Weston do to eliminate her racoon trouble? Who ratted on her to the Animal Protection Agency? Drawn into a nasty battle with Zinny over who did what. Ava wonders: Can they ever be friends again? Talented first novelist Amy Goldman Koss blends sensitivity and humor in this thought-provoking and often hilarious novel about animal rights and friendship.

Author Notes

Amy Goldman Koss is a children's writer who attended Lansing Community College and Wayne State University but did not finish her degree. As an adult, she lived in several places such as - Lansing, Boston, Stuart, Florida - working odd jobs and taking random college classes. She soon started submitting her drawings and writings to newspapers and literary magazines. When her first picture book got published, she was totally hooked and spent the next few years writing and illustrating picture books in verse. After having her children she started writing novels and has been doing it ever since. Her titles include Gossip Times Three, How I Saved Hanukkah, and Smoke Screen.

She belongs to several writing societies such as Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Children's Author's Network and Friend's of Children and Literature Authors Guild.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. A warm, funny friendship story gets serious when the friends quarrel about a case of animal cruelty. Ava tells how she and Zinny hit it off from the day they meet in the fifth grade, wisecracking and acting out, wallowing in gruesome horror stories, snorting with laughter. Ava's parents are both veterinarians, and her beloved personal pets include a German shepherd, two rats, a lizard, two lovebirds, two hermit crabs, and Honey Bunny, but Zinny's family is grossed out by animals, and Zinny's only contact with a rabbit is her bunny-fur jacket. Then someone reports Zinny's mother for the cruel entrapment and drowning of a raccoon, and the girls' friendship explodes into an ugly standoff. There's some contrived plotting about who reported whom, but middle-graders will enjoy this first novel for the friend/enemy drama (after the fight, Ava feels "ashamed, hurt, guilty, innocent, confused, and sorry all at once") and for the sympathetic open discussion of animal rights. Why is one raccoon's death such a big deal? How do you balance human and animal rights? --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her first novel, Koss (Where Fish Go in Winter) presents a memorable duo, Ava and Zinny, neighbors in a brand-new development. The fifth graders have a lot in common besides their identical houses. They share wacky senses of humor, high aspirations (Ava wants to be a singer; Zinny a costume designer) and fearless imaginations. On the other hand, Ava has one dog, a lizard, two birds, two hermit crabs, two rats and a bunny, while Zinny and her mother think that animals are "filthy" and carry disease. Trouble brews when Zinny's mother kills a raccoon that has eaten all the koi in her designer fishpond. Someone calls the Animal Protection Society and Zinny mistakenly thinks it is Ava. While Zinny and her parents come off as a little too cold-hearted (and may alienate pet owners), Ava is both convincing and charismatic, and Koss clearly knows the dynamics of middle-school friendships and how small misunderstandings can explode into war. Ava's soul-searching during her spat with Zinny raises pertinent questions about human versus animal rights. Readers' opinions may sway before the girls resolve their differences and swear "never to blame each other for the stuff that's not our fault." Ages 9-12. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Ava has a difficult time in fifth grade until Zinny Weston moves to town. Not only is Zinny quick with a good comeback in response to a bully's insults, but she also has big dreams, just like Ava. The girls swiftly become friends: nevertheless, there is one big difference between their families that inevitably causes problems. Ava's parents are veterinarians and all three of them love animals; Zinny and her parents do not. Trouble brews when Mrs. Weston is accused of drowning a raccoon. Zinny assumes that Ava is responsible for reporting her mother to the authorities, and the girls' friendship deteriorates. Ava struggles with loneliness and with ethical issues concerning the treatment of animals. She and Zinny eventually resolve their differences in a believable way and the book ends with a rekindling of their friendship. Told in the first person, this fast-paced contemporary story has well-developed characters and typical preteen problems. Readers will enjoy meeting these characters.-Mary M. Hopf, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.