In the third installment from the team who createdáLike Pickle Juice on a CookieáandáLike Bug Juice on a Burger, EleanorAes relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first EleanorAes excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girlAes buddy, Eleanor fears she canAet compete. To make matters worse, EleanorAes been chosen for the lead role in the springtime musical, which means she ...
In the third installment from the team who createdáLike Pickle Juice on a CookieáandáLike Bug Juice on a Burger, EleanorAes relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first EleanorAes excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girlAes buddy, Eleanor fears she canAet compete. To make matters worse, EleanorAes been chosen for the lead role in the springtime musical, which means she has to sing a solo in front of the entire school! From overcoming stage fright to having a secret crush, young readers will relate to Eleanor as she navigates the bittersweet waters of growing up.
Eleanor cherishes Monday and Wednesday afternoons with Pearl, who comes to Eleanor’s house on those days while her mom is at work. Whether attempting to train Eleanor’s badly behaved puppy or baking what turn out to be overly salty cupcakes, the two best friends have nothing but fun. That is, until sparkly new girl Ainsley arrives and Pearl is assigned to be her buddy, “to help with schoolwork and making friends.” Worse still, the only afternoons Ainsley is free for Pearl’s extra tutoring are Mondays and Wednesdays, which used to be Eleanor’s days. Distraught over Pearl’s new closeness with Ainsley, Eleanor does “a mean thing. A very mean thing. To a new girl AND to my best friend. I HATE that I did it. But I did. This is worse than carrot juice on a cupcake.” The plot-triggering premise of the story—that one fourth grader would be informed by a teacher that another student is “far behind” and required to give up two afternoons a week to bring her up to speed—strains credulity. But the “mean thing” Eleanor does to both girls is exquisitely believable, rendered with pitch-perfect sensitivity to fourth-grade social dynamics. This sequel to Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Like Bug Juice on a Burger, told in verse-like narration by Eleanor, is both hilarious and heartbreaking, until a “life-or-death pickle” manages to make all things right. This book is sure to be appreciated by anyone who needs to be forgiven for something unforgiveable—that is to say, by most of us. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.; Ages 7 to 10.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Continuing the story begun in Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (2011) and Like Bug Juice on a Burger (2013, both Abrams), Eleanor learns some hard lessons about friendship, responsbility, and courage. She and her best friend spend Mondays and Wednesdays at her house after school while Pearl's mom is still at work. Then the Biggs family moves to town, and young Ainsley needs extra help getting caught up with her school work. Pearl is assigned to be her buddy and help her—but the only time they can meet is on Mondays and Wednesdays. Eleanor feels left out as the two girls develop a fast friendship. Meanwhile, her parents send her puppy away for two weeks of doggie training camp after several incidents at home. In an attempt to help her friend feel less lonely, Pearl volunteers her to audition for the spring play, even though Eleanor is terrified of singing in front of a large crowd. With all this going on, Eleanor finally cracks and tells the whole class a secret about Ainsley that Pearl had told her (when she was not supposed to), and she learns that making amends sometimes requires a lot of effort, persistance, and bravery. She also learns to face her fears about performing. The sparse style of the occasional pen and ink drawings capture facial expressions and emotions quite well. A good addition for most early-chapter-book collections.—Amy Commers, South St. Paul Public Library, MN