Author: Julie Sternberg
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
This debut book by the author is truly a little gem. First of all, the title is amazing and the front cover is one that anyone (young or old) would be drawn to.
The setting takes place during the summer between Eleanor's second and third grade.
I had a bad August.
A very bad August.
As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.
As bad as a spider web on your leg.
As bad as the black parts on a banana.
I hope your August was better.
I really do.
This is Eleanor's voice speaking, who is a little girl about seven or eight who will be starting grade three in September. She has some adjustments to make in her life and they won't be easy. Her very best babysitter, Bibi, has moved away because she is tending to an ailing father. Her new babysitter, Natalie, has her own way of doing things which doesn't sit well with Eleanor. To add to the stress, Eleanor will be starting grade three in September. How will she ever make it through the whole summer without her beloved babysitter and friend? Some of her fears about school are alleviated by a letter she received from her third grade teacher, Mr. Campanelli, reassuring his new class that all will be well and he is looking forward to having them in his class. While the babysitter story is a big part of the narrative, the real story is about Eleanor learning to become independent, letting go and growing up.
It is a coming of age novel for the early chapter book set. Sternberg's prose are well written and at times seem almost poetical. There is not too much text on each spread so the new chapter-book reader will not be overwhelmed. Cordell's playful illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story and will keep interest strong. The book is written in first person, almost in a journal style, which might be a good starting point to get your own child to journal or even your classroom if you are a teacher.
You will be very happy to add this book to your collection.
Read on and read always.
Book Rating For Review: 8 (Fantastic)