Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

Julie Sternberg
Illustrator:  Matthew Cordell 
For ages 5 to 7
Amulet Books, 2011   ISBN: 978-0810984240

Eleanor is feeling very upset indeed. Her August is turning out to be a disaster, and it all begins when her parents tell her that Bibi, her much loved babysitter, is moving to Florida. Eleanor cannot believe that this is happening. She has known Bibi all her life and Bibi knows how to fix things when they go wrong.  How will Eleanor be able to cope without her? Eleanor’s mom says that everything is going to “be okay,” but Eleanor knows that this is not true. Not at all.

Sure enough, after Bibi leaves nothing feels right. Everyone is sad and all the things Eleanor likes to do remind her of Bibi, and so Eleanor does not do them. Eleanor and her mother cannot go to Roma Pizza, or to the pool because these places bring their memories of Bibi to the surface. Eleanor cannot even ride her bike because Bibi picked it out.

Trying to help out, Eleanor’s father invites Agnes from upstairs for a playdate. The problem is that Eleanor does not like Agnes, and it would appear that Agnes does not like Eleanor much either. When she hears that Agnes is coming over, Eleanor is not best pleased and she insists that her father has to stay with the girls the whole time. Eleanor decides to write a letter to Bibi and Agnes and Eleanor’s father listen to music together. It is a very strange and unsatisfactory sort of playdate.

When Mom comes home she announces that she is going to have to go back to work, which means that Eleanor is going to need to have a new babysitter. Eleanor hates this idea and says that she will stay home by herself, but her mother explains that this won’t be possible.

So that very afternoon a girl called Natalie comes over. She is younger than Bibi and looks nothing like her, but she seems nice enough and Natalie and Eleanor have a good time playing mancala together.

In the days that follow, Natalie and Eleanor also have a good time waiting for the post lady – just in case there is a letter from Bibi – and setting up a lemonade stand. Natalie is a nice person, but of course Eleanor still misses Bibi terribly.

Change is not easy, and losing a babysitter who has known you your whole life is a lot of change to get used to. In this sweet early chapter book the author explores, in a gentle and sensitive way, how a young girl deals with a big change in her life.