Chapter Book for Kids: Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

chapter book for kids

Once in a while a bad day comes along, and sometimes the best way to forget is to focus on something else altogether! That’s why Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg is the chapter book for kids we’re recommending.  Our friends at Sweet on Books explain why:

What You Need to Know:
Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie is a terrific early chapter book.
• It is written in the first person, almost journal style.
• The main storyline is about a beloved family babysitter who has to leave, but it’s really a story of growing up and moving on.
• Another major plotline is Eleanor’s apprehension about going back to school and starting third grade.
• It is a perfect summer read for reluctant students who are anxious about school starting up again in September.
• Sternberg’s language is lyrical and almost poetic at times; it is a wonderful surprise to find that in an early chapter book.

I was very intrigued by the cover and title of this book. I walked past it several times at my local bookstore until I finally had to buy it. The attention grabbing title, Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, piqued my curiosity and I just had to find out more about this book – and boy am I glad I did. This is a gem of a book!

Our protagonist, Eleanor, is NOT happy. August was a bad, bad month. Like pickle juice on a cookie bad. Her beloved babysitter, Bibi, has to leave her and go to care for her ailing father who lives far away. Eleanor is eight and right on the cusp of third grade. Bibi leaves her right at the start of the summer vacation, and the summer without her looms ahead for Eleanor. Who will put ice on her arm when she gets hurt? Who will take her for pizza? Everything seems tainted without Bibi, and Eleanor’s new babysitter just isn’t Bibi!

Sternberg takes Eleanor through this grieving process with great care and detail. Children will no doubt relate to her gentle handling of a sad situation. Eleanor is also very worried about the start of school. Mr. Campanelli, Eleanor’s third grade teacher, writes a wonderful, reassuring letter to the class, welcoming them to the third grade. This will undoubtedly help to soothe all of the apprehensive students out there, eagerly or not so eagerly, anticipating returning to school.

While missing her babysitter is a big part of Eleanor’s journey, this story is really about Eleanor growing up. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie is like a coming of age novel for the early chapter book set. Sternberg’s prose is almost written in verse at times, which makes it lovely and lyrical. It also makes it very readable for a first chapter book; there isn’t too much text on each spread so it will not overwhelm newly independent readers. Cordell’s illustrations are a perfect accompaniment.

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