Book Review: Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, by Julie Sternberg (illustrations by Matthew Cordell) (Amulet Books, 2011)
Recommended for ages 8-10
“I had a bad August. A very bad August. As bad as pickle juice on a cookie. I hope your August was better. I really do.”
Thus begins eight-year old Eleanor’s story. She learns that her beloved babysitter, Bibi, will be leaving her family’s employ and their Brooklyn home and moving to Florida in order to care for her sick father. To make things worse, her best friend, Pearl, is away on vacation with her family. Heartbroken, she doesn’t want to do anything that will remind her of Bibi and she certainly doesn’t want another babysitter. But her parents have to work, and a new babysitter shows up. Eleanor learns that it’s okay to miss Bibi and still make space in her heart for Natalie.
Pickle Juice teaches kids about loss and how to work through it. Told in free verse and accompanied by line drawings, it presents an easy transition for middle graders ready to move on from beginner chapter books. The story presents many areas for discussion for both parents and teachers having read-alouds with their children.
Julie Sternberg’s author website offers a curriculum guide for Pickle Juice, as well as an interesting author biography told through her favorite books. Readers can click through to her blog and contact her regarding author visits.