Eleanor’s life is turned upside down when her life-long babysitter Bibi moves to Florida to care for an elderly father. Told in short chapters of free verse, Like Pickle Juice On a Cookie would be an excellent book for any reader dealing with separation from a family member or a loved one. In the words of Eleanor, Bibi moving “is as bad as somebody dying.”
It seems like there is nothing for Eleanor to do at first. Her friends are all gone for the summer. All the fun things she used to do remind her too much of Bibi, even swimming which was something that frightened Bibi. Her dad tried inviting another girl from the apartment building over, but it was a girl Eleanor thought was scary and mean.
When Eleanor meets Natalie, her new young babysitter, she can’t help comparing her to Bibi. When Eleanor’s grumpy, Natalie has them make lemonade. They check with Vail, the mail carrier, to see if there is a letter from Bibi every day. Eleanor’s emotions through the book ring true as she struggles to welcome someone new into her life while not letting go of the memories she has of Bibi. Matthew Cordell’s illustrations capture the emotional essence of the book wonderfully.