Word Spelunking

Like Bug Juice on a Burger - Julie Sternberg, Matthew Cordell Like Bug Juice On A Burger is a delightfully fun and entertaining read from author Julie Sternberg. I quickly devoured this middle-grade book and am hungry for more stories about Eleanor and more of Sternberg's work!Nine year old Eleanor is excited when her grandmother surprises her with a two week trip to Camp Wallumwahpuck, the camp Eleanor's mother attended as a girl. But Eleanor quickly begins to doubt the trip as she gets nervous about being away from home. And when she arrives at camp, she finds it isn't exactly what she thought it would be. Bugs, less than appetizing food, and dreaded swim class are what she finds instead. But Eleanor decides to really give camp a try and finds that maybe it isn't so bad afterall.Julie Sternberg has created a plucky and unforgettable character in Eleanor and her free-verse writing style is refreshingly unique. I really enjoyed this simple, but laugh-out-loud funny and endearing story and I think readers of all ages will find it immensely amusing and entertaining as well.You don't often see free-verse in middle-grade, but Sternberg's writing style and voice are pitch-perfect for her intended audience. I loved the natural flow of the free-verse and how well it fits the story. Eleanor's adventures and misadventures at camp are equal parts funny, touching, and thoughtful, and always believable. Sternberg creates realistic situations that young readers will relate to and understand.I love Eleanor and her honest, curious personality. She has a plucky spirit and a wonderfully observational wit. And boy did I feel for this girl! Her first few disastrous days at camp reminded me so much of my first few days of summer camp when I was a child *cringes *. I too took a less than graceful tumble on the first day of camp, found myself terribly homesick, and hated swim lessons. But Eleanor really makes the best of her situation and sets out to make sure her entire camp experience isn't ruined. And with the help of some new friends, a goat, and a trampoline, she ends up having a lot of fun.Matthew Cordell's simple but charming illustrations are the perfect companion to Eleanor's story and I really loved them.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Like Bug Juice On A Burger is a wonderfully fun, amusing, and well written book. Sternberg's charming free-verse writing style and her awesome main character will delight readers of all ages.

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