Thursday, April 25, 2013

Children’s Book Review: Like Bug Juice on a Burger, by Julie Sternberg

When I was a little girl, I was a “Brownie,” which is the little girls’ version of Girl Scouts. One summer, my parents sent me to Girl Scouts camp. I was a rather shy little girl, and I only knew one other girl who was going to camp. Marilyn and I didn’t know each other very well, but she didn’t know anyone else at camp either, so I felt comforted in knowing that we would get to be better friends. Then, “disaster” hit. When they were assigning kids to tents, it came down to just Marilyn and me, and the only two spots left were in different tents. We were separated, and I ended up sleeping in the tent with a girl who wet the bed every night. Marilyn’s activities and mine didn’t coincide, and I never did find a friend of my own. Needless to say, I was miserable at camp and never went back again!

So, I could really relate to Eleanor’s feelings in the children’s chapter book, Like Bug Juice on a Burger, by Julie Sternberg. Her grandmother gave her a trip to sleepover camp one summer (the very same camp that Eleanor’s mother had attended and loved as a child), and Eleanor was apprehensive about going because she didn’t have any friends there. At the bus that was to take them to camp, she met one other girl who lived near her, and so they started out with a sort of awkward friendship. Eleanor really wanted to like camp, but so much was different! All of the girls in her cabin knew each other, so she felt like an outsider. The food wasn’t very good, and she got put in a low-level swim group that required her to wear a life jacket. She fell and scraped her chin. She got bit in the eyelid by a bug. And her suggestion for the baby goat’s name didn’t win the contest. There were a few things that Eleanor liked, but she never entirely loved the place.

The author so accurately captures Eleanor’s fears and loneliness as she struggles with being away from home for the first time. Nothing is familiar, and she feels like she’s different. She tries to appreciate her surroundings because she doesn’t want to let down her parents and her grandma, but she never quite finds it to be the glorious experience that her mom did. In most books with similar themes, it ends with the main character discovering that she just LOVES her new camp (or school or whatever the situation). So, I really liked that author Julie Sternberg made Eleanor’s experience more realistic: some parts of camp were good, and some were not so good. That’s how it usually is. And I think that young readers will be inspired by Eleanor’s determination to “stick with it” and find some joy in her situation.

Like Bug Juice on a Burger is perfect for summer reading, especially for kids who will be going to or returning from summer camp. I think they’ll be able to relate to Eleanor’s mixed feelings about this new experience and find comfort in knowing that it’s perfectly normal. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Like Bug Juice on a Burger for your 8- to 10-year-old child!



You’ll also want to download Julie Sternberg's cute Like Bug Juice on a Burger activity kit, as well as a curriculum guide, to accompany the book at www.juliesternberg.com/activities.html. The free activity kit is especially appropriate for kids who are going to camp!

P.S. Please check out my review of Julie Sternberg's previous book, Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, HERE.



DISCLOSURE: I received an advance reader’s copy to review this book. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, Susan, for this very thoughtful post. :-)

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  2. This sounds like a wonderful book for my tween granddaughter. She had some similar feelings when she went to camp and I think she would enjoy reading it.

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