Like Bug Juice on a Burger (Eleanor #2)
Author: Julie Sternberg
Illsutrator: Matthew Cordell
Published April 2nd, 2013 by Amulet Books
Goodreads Summary: I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops.
Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book definitely brought back memories! I loved the idea of summer camp and many of the activities, but I hated the bugs and the food and the changing in front of other people. There are many times when I was away that I just wanted to go home; however, there were things that saved me- specifically, like Eleanor, the animals. I loved working in the barn with the horses and it is what saved me and then got me going back year after year. I remember walking into the barn and being able to be part of these horses’ lives and the scene where Eleanor meets Cornelius the goat brought me right back to that moment.
This book would be a wonderful read aloud for right before summer because even if students are not going to summer camp, there is probably something new and scary that they will try this summer and this book will definitely cause discussion about how something new may be scary, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it eventually. Julie Sternberg’s writing also lends itself to some amazing discussions about free verse poetry and, in this one, letter writing. Maybe use the letter writing part of the book to segue into writing a letter to next year’s class.
Finally, I love the idea of the Wall of Feelings! The Wall of Feelings is where the campers put up how they feel about camp; however, Eleanor is given the job of writing about how she used to feel about camp and then how she feels about camp now. What a great way for students to express themselves! This would be a great formative assessment for looking at how students feel about reading or school or some other topic at the beginning of the year vs. the end.
Discussion Questions: Think about a time in your life when you did something you were scared to do. How did you overcome your fear/nervousness? How did it turn out in the end?
We Flagged: “The bus was bumping
down a gravel road
with bushes and trees and weeds all around.
This isn’t beautiful
This is creepy.
I missed sidewalks full of people
checking their phones
and walking their cute dogs.
I missed paved roads, too,
filled with taxis and bik riders.” (Chapter 5)
Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake
Author: Julie Sternberg
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Published March 18th, 2014 by Amulet Books
Goodreads Summary: I did a mean thing.
A very mean thing.
I HATE that I did it.
But I did.
This is worse than
carrot juice on a cupcake
or a wasp on my pillow
or a dress that’s too tight at the neck.
In the third installment from the team who created Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Like Bug Juice on a Burger, Eleanor’s relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first Eleanor’s excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girl’s buddy, Eleanor fears she can’t compete. To make matters worse, Eleanor’s 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.
Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book has multiple levels going on at the same time. There is the story of Eleanor and Pearl’s friendship and their first speed bump. Then there is Eleanor getting the lead in the play, and dealing with the fear of singing a solo. Eleanor dealing with her puppy having trouble getting house trained. And finally, the Eleanor and Nicholas story. But Sternberg balances it all because it is just all part of Eleanor’s life. Julie Sternberg is so great at writing in an elementary student’s voice. It is so authentic and well done!
What I love so much about all of the “Eleanor” books are that they are written in verse, and Eleanor is an amazing poet. I love that it is free verse and includes such beautiful language, but it never comes off as anything but authentic. Teachers could definitely take Eleanor’s writing and use it as a mentor text for students to write about their own experiences.
Discussion Questions: Have you ever hurt a friend’s feelings? What did you do to make it better?; How was Eleanor able to overcome her stage fright?; Why was Eleanor so scare and jealous of Ainsley?; Do you think Eleanor likes Nicholas?
Read These If You Loved: Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg, Marty McGuire and Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner, Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli, Go Out and Play! by KaBoom!, Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett Kroscozka, Camp Babymouse by Jenni and Matt Holm, Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo, Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
Curriculum Guide for All of the “Eleanor” Books Can be Found Here.
Both Books Recommended For:
**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review**