Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kid Konnection: Like Bug Juice on a Burger

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 a sequel to a cute middle grade book I reviewed almost two years ago.

Summary: I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops. -- Amulet

When I discovered that there was a sequel to the novel LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE by Julie Sternberg with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, I knew I had to read it! I had read and reviewed that middle grade book two summers ago and thought it was a very cute story with some fantastic messages. The new book is titled LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER (another fun title!), and I think young readers are going to love this book too -- maybe even more than the first one.

Eleanor is back! This time, Eleanor is heading to a sleep-away summer camp, the very same camp her mom attended (and loved) as a child. Initially, Eleanor is excited to be following in her mother's footsteps, but she becomes more reluctant the closer it gets. She's worried about being away from her parents and the comfort of her home... and even making new friends. Eleanor even makes an emergency escape plan with her parents, just in case she's having a horrible time.

Things get even worse of Eleanor when she arrives at the camp! She hates the food and refuses to eat almost anything they have to offer, and she's uncomfortable with the bugs, animal life, and even the bathrooms. However, her biggest problem is the swimming lessons. She's one of the worst swimmers at the camp and is extremely embarrassed that she has to wear a life jacket. She's one hundred percent sure she wants to go home... or is she? As the days pass, Eleanor gets more comfortable at the camp and even begins to make a few friends. She also learns some valuable lessons about her own strength and perseverance!

I thought LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER was absolutely adorable... and you don't have to read the first book to appreciate this one! I am pretty sure that most kids will be able to relate to Eleanor (I know I would have and so would both of my kids!) Eleanor is a wonderful narrator and I thought the author did a great job making her sound like a "normal" young girl. Her insecurities are extremely real and I think children (and parents) will appreciate her honestly.

While I found Eleanor and her experiences at camp to be pretty realistic (I am so not a camper), I also thought they were pretty funny. And I have a feeling that most kids will agree. Eleanor's reactions are spot-on to the disgusting bugs and revolting food, and I'm positive that kids will laugh out loud at some of her descriptions.

As a mom, I adored LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER. It seemed to have everything a young reader could want from a story, plus it had all of those things that moms look for! The messages in this story were terrific and I think what Eleanor learned about herself and others just might serve as valuable teaching points to young kids.

LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER is probably geared towards the 8 to 10 year old crowd. In fact as I read this book, I immediately thought that Booking Son might like it. The novel is 175 pages (give or take), but it's a very quick read. There are 29 chapters so each one is a just a few pages and not at all intimidating to young readers. In addition, there are some adorable sketches on most pages to break up the text. Furthermore, the text is written in verse so there aren't a ton of words per page. I think LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER is a great book to help transition children from early readers to chapter books!

LIKE BUG JUICE ON A BURGER is so much fun that I can't help but recommend it! Plus it has some great messages about perseverance and self-confidence that make it a winner in my book!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review 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!


Beth F said...

This does sound fun -- but we all *loved* camp and the outdoors! Still I'm sure I would loved to read about another perspective.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I went to camp, and to me, one of the best and most magical parts was having "bug juice" to drink everyday! I loved it and always believed it was some sort of secret special stuff! (Was it Kool Aid? Probably!)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

We are not campers either, but I bet my son would love a funny book that is easy to read. And the messages are great too.

bermudaonion said...

I think I could relate to Eleanor too! This book sounds adorable!