Author: Julie Sternberg
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Age Range: 7-9 (Kirkus)
Interest Range: 7-9
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Novel in Verse
Plot: Eleanor has just lost her one and only beloved babysitter, Bibi, who has moved from Brooklyn to Florida to be with her own elderly father. This is terrible news. Bibi has been a constant presence in her life for the past 8 years! No one will ever replace her. For awhile her parents are able to stay home with her. But then comes Natalie, with her lemonade stands and board games, and doing all of the things that Bibi used to do. Will she be able to fill Bibi’s shoes? Will Eleanor ever be okay with a new babysitter?
Review: Eleanor is in a tough spot. Having had two parents that work her entire life, Bibi has been like another family member for her, and now she is gone. But Eleanor is a smart girl, and although she doesn’t want anyone to replace Bibi, she eventually realizes that Natalie is a good babysitter too. And Natalie is impressive because she doesn’t try to fill Bibi’s space completely and sympathizes with Eleanor over her loss. A learning experience for both young kids dealing with loss or a change in routine and the adults that are helping them through it, this would be a great book for parents or adults to read with their kids.
Themes: Coming of age, Change in Routine, Loss
Eleanor: An 8-year-old girl who has just lost her life-long babysitter, Bibi. She deals with this change in routine over the course of August, before entering the third grade, writing letters to Bibi and learning how to get along with a new babysitter, Natalie.
Bibi: Eleanor’s original babysitter. She has moved to Florida to help her elderly and ill father. She responds to Eleanor’s letters with nothing but love.
Natalie: Eleanor’s new babysitter, who has the daunting task of getting this 8-year-old to accept and trust her. She is patient and kind and assures Eleanor that she is not trying to replace Bibi completely, but wants to be the best second babysitter she can be.
Sternberg, J. (2011). Like pickle juice on a cookie. New York: Amulet Books.
No one can ever replace your first babysitter, but sometimes you have to let people try to help you through it.