Eleanor’s awful August begins with the devastating news that Bibi, her babysitter, is moving far away. After Bibi leaves, everything reminds her of Bibi and makes her sad. Eleanor wonders how her life will ever be the same.
Themes/Content: Babysitters, friendship, change, family, coping, loss, novels in prose, first person
Recommended for: Primary grades, students with friends/relatives moving away, introducing prose novels
My Two Cents: This is a short, sweet book that makes the reader realize that the magnitude of a problem is in the eye of the beholder. To an adult, a friend moving away may seem like a minor loss compared to other situations, but to a third grader this is a great tragedy. Eleanor’s new babysitter handles the situation with compassion, not trying to step into Bibi’s shoes, but finding her own path into Eleanor’s heart.
Although the novel is written in free verse, there is not a lot of figurative language. This might be a good way to introduce free verse because the text is so direct. Cordell’s illustrations are on nearly every page and work well to draw attention to specific lines of the text. As much as I don’t like to stereotype a book, I think that this book will probably appeal more to girls than boys, and therefore might not be the best choice for a read aloud.
Similar/Paired Books in EHUE Library:
- Bowe, Julie. My last best friend. New York: Scholastic, 2007. Print.
- Bryant, Annie. Bad news/good news. New York: Aladdin Mix, 2008. Print.
- Cabot, Meg. Moving day /#1. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Print.
- Carbone, Elisa L. Starting school with an enemy. New York: Knopf, 1998. Print.
- Danziger, Paula. Amber Brown is not a crayon. New York: Putnam’s, 1994. Print.
- Krishnaswami, Uma. The grand plan to fix everything. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011. Print.
- Mattox, Wendy A. Babysitting skills : traits and training for success. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press, 2007. Print.
- Sternberg, Julie. Like bug juice on a burger. 2013. Print.
“Natalie saw a plastic grocery bag,
hanging from the branch of a tree, swaying.
‘like a magnolia,’ she said.
‘A plastic grocery bag magnolia.'”
Final Word: Cute for the right audience. 😐