Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Like Bug Juice on a Burger

Title: Like Bug Juice on a Burger
Author: Julie Sternberg
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 165
Review Copy: Netgalley & library copy
Available: On shelves now

Summary: I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn't. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed "Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie," Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she's excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can't seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops. -- Cover image and summary via IndieBound

Review: I am always happy to find early chapter books that are fun and engaging. Like Bug Juice on a Burger is a great book for those early readers who want to start chapter books, but are still intimidated by lots of words on the page. There is a lot of white space on these pages. The addition of Matthew Cordell's refreshing illustrations also keeps this chapter book entertaining and friendly during a transition from picture books.

Whether children have experienced summer camp or not, this is a book that most can connect with as all children have dealt with fear of new situations. Eleanor runs into difficulties, but nothing that she truly can't handle. She rises up to meet the challenges in spite of her fears.

I did wonder about the formatting of the text. There are no traditional paragraphs, but there are breaks and many short lines. I thought that the author may have chosen to avoid paragraphing for easy reading. It truly did not seem like it was written in verse though the text was sometimes lyrical. Because I was wondering about the formatting and whether or not it was a novel in verse, I was happy to find this interview from the International Reading Association. The book is not exactly a novel in verse, though some refer to it that way, but I believe that the formatting she used, definitely benefits struggling and beginning readers.

For anyone looking to stock up on early chapter books, this is definitely something to purchase. It would make a nice read aloud in primary classes and would be great for reading alone when students are venturing into the chapter book realm.

**There is an Activity Kit available through Julie's website

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