“I had a bad August. A very bad August. As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.” So says soon-to-be-third-grader Eleanor Kane. What’s wrong? Well, for starters, her beloved babysitter, Bibi, is moving away. Eleanor can’t imagine her life without the woman who has always cared for her. As Eleanor says when she hears the news, “It was as bad as somebody dying.” Eleanor doesn’t want to do anything that reminds her about the times she and Bibi spent together. Unfortunately, because she and Bibi did so much, there really isn’t anything left for Eleanor to do.

Told in poignant first-person narrative, Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie reveals Eleanor’s touchy reaction as a new babysitter enters her life. Natalie, the new babysitter, is very different from Bibi. Like a typical eight-year-old, Eleanor is resentful and suspicious of a world where everything is not as it always has been.

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie follows Eleanor, her parents and Natalie as they navigate this tough time. First-time author Julie Sternberg paints Eleanor as a realistic character with her frequent mood swings, tentative hopes for the future and deep desire to cling to the past.

Although it’s a subject most everyone can relate to, there are few books written about young children and their babysitters. This heartwarming novel and its winsome cartoon-like illustrations draw readers right into the story. Children would enjoy this short chapter book as an independent read, but it would also be a particularly good choice for parents to read to or with their children.

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