Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

pickle image

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

By Julie Sternberg, Illustrated by Matthew Cordell


Published by: Amulet Books; 1 edition (March 18, 2011)

Available in: hardcover, paperback, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were three books in a “juice” series by this author.



Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie is something wonderful. There’s a lot more going on than in most chapter books, and where first appearances speak to simplicity, thoughtful craft rules the end product.

little-girl-pickleOur protagonist is the dry-witted Eleanor, a city girl who has to explore the sadness of someone important leaving, the hurt of missing as time goes on, and the reluctance of a new relationship. She also learns acceptance, and even discovers unexpected joy.

Eleanor is somewhat reminiscent of Charlie Brown, Billy Crystal and Woody Allen in her dry, somewhat pessimistic tone. But this is never a downer. And the comparison is especially poignant as artist Cordell’s illustrations are nostalgic and unassuming. Power to those who draw

The real gem, though, is writer Sternberg’s spare, poetic prose. The rhythm, pace and sheer elegance of emotions are stellar. For example, see one section in chapter 17:

It was bad because

Natalie ran my bath

and checked the water

and checked it again

to make sure it wasn’t too hot.

Just like Bibi.

When Bibi stayed late.

To make it complete, the art direction is unfussy and clean. The no-nonsense, blunt, sans serif typeface perfectly captures the first person voice of our young narrator. And the quick chapters make this an ideal fit with the sensitive independent reader.


What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

3 thoughts on “Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

  1. To me the illustrations depicted here look a little too much like free clipart that comes with Microsoft packages rather than the efforts of a children’s book illustrator. However, the simplicity of the thing does remind one of Charlie Brown and anything that reminds me of “Peanuts” has to be worth-while reading:)

    • I think if you view the illustrations within the actual text of the book they will probably have a more powerful impact on you. Either way, the text is absolutely lovely and worth a read, even for adults. Thanks for your comment, Mariathermann!

  2. Pingback: Carnival of Children’s Literature April 2015 Roundup | Carnival of Children's Literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s