Saturday, July 9, 2011
Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you an early reader book with some important messages.
A very bad August.
As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.
As bad as a spider web on your leg.
As bad as the black parts on a banana.
I hope your August was better.
I really do.
When Eleanor's beloved babysitter, Bibi, has to move away to take care of her ailing father, Eleanor must try to bear the summer without Bibi and prepare for the upcoming school year. Her new, less-than-perfect babysitter just isn't up to snuff, and she doesn't take care of things like Bibi used to. But as the school year looms, it's time for new beginnings. Eleanor soon realizes that she will always have Bibi, no matter how far away she is.
Written in a lyrical style with thoughtful and charming illustrations throughout, this remarkable debut novel tells a poignant story of friendship and the bittersweet feelings of growing up. -- Amulet
I admit that I was drawn to the LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE by Julie Sternberg and illustrations by Matthew Cordell because of the title. I couldn't imagine what pickle juice on a cookie had to do with an eight year old girl. But the story begins with the pickle juice reference, and I instantly got it! Eleanor is having a rough go of it. Her longtime babysitter moved away to take care of her aging father and she is having a hard time accepting her new babysitter. In addition, Eleanor is getting ready ready to start the new school year, and with that comes a lot of anxiety. Things just aren't right -- kind of like pickle juice on a cookie. Poor kid!
LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE is geared towards young readers -- probably around eight years old just like the narrator. In fact, I think Booking Son is almost ready to read this one on his own. Because the story is told in Eleanor's voice, the words are fairly simple and the sentences are relatively short; and the 120 page book is divided into 27 chapters so it's not intimidating to young readers. In addition, there are lots of adorable illustrations that are not only fun to look at, but also provide a break from the text. It really is an ideal early chapter book.
I appreciated LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE for a number of reasons. One of the things I most liked about this novel was the character of Eleanor. I loved how the author managed to capture an eight year old's voice so well. In addition, I loved Eleanor's honesty. She was very open about her concerns, but she was also very real to me because she showed her anger and frustrations. I like that kids are going to be able to relate to Eleanor's feelings and also see how she eventually coped with them.
I'm going to put on my "mom hat" again and tell you another thing that I liked about LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE. The messages in this story were terrific -- and so universal. The book delved into the loss of a loved one and showed kids that it's okay to feel sad and even mad. It also showed that change isn't all bad -- Eleanor's new babysitter is pretty cool albeit very different from Bibi. I also appreciated how the book showed that Eleanor was nervous about starting a new school year and her friendships. It's important for kids to understand that these feelings are entirely acceptable and even normal and that they aren't alone. By seeing how Eleanor worked through her very horrible August, I think young readers will be able to relate to her and realize that things can (and do) get better.
LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE is perfect for parents and teachers alike to share with young children. It's a great book about dealing with loss and other concerns of kids, but it's also a very fun read and one that I think kids are going to love!
Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy of this book.
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!