I had a bad August.
A very bad August.
As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.
As bad as a spider web on your leg.
As bad as the black parts on a banana.
I hope your August was better.
I really do.
When Eleanor’s beloved babysitter, Bibi, has to move away to take care of her ailing father, Eleanor must try to bear the summer without Bibi and prepare for the upcoming school year. Her new, less-than-perfect babysitter just isn’t up to snuff, and she doesn’t take care of things like Bibi used to. But as the school year looms, it’s time for new beginnings. Eleanor soon realizes that she will always have Bibi, no matter how far away she is.
Written in a lyrical style with thoughtful and charming illustrations throughout by Matthew Cordell.
Here are a few of Matthew Cordell’s first round sketches.
As you might have guessed the title wasn’t working for us.
It worked for the story but was just to “quiet.”
A list of new possible title was drawn up.
A Letter from Bibi
Waiting for Bibi (she is waiting for the letter after all)
Bibi and Me and Our Very Bad August
A Letter from My Bibi
My Life Without My Bibi
Where Old Babysitters Go to Retire
when they Get Sick of Brats, and Why
Kids and the Babysitters that Leave Them
Dealing with an Absent Babysitter
Pickle Juice on a Cookie was just odd enough to be enticing. I love it!
Our designer Melissa Arnst rang up Matthew to tell him the new title news.
He then began sketching.
Melissa started working up other ideas with Matthew’s interior art. Our goal was to up the cuteness factor as well as remaining true to the story. Yet this cover seemed to close to another book design. So we took another look.
We combed through the interior art looking for answers. I was sure they were there somewhere.
We replayed the title over and over in our heads. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie was so attention getting we needed an image that would be able to hold its own.
Closer. But still to quiet
Too much scenery.
Melissa and I then combined her previous sketch with the pickle jar idea and KABLAM!
We had ourselves a sweet cover idea!
Next step: Add type and tweak. (Like many other covers on both the Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books imprints we asked Matthew for to hand draw the type on the cover. I feel it gives a cover that extra push to being unique. Plus it helps the art and the type look like the belong together.)
Matthews final inked art
Now with color!
And the final!
Here is a sneak peek a Julie and Matt’s next book
Like Bug Juice on a Burger, on sale SPRING 2013!!
Praise for Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
“Eleanor’s ingenuous free-verse monologue should strike a chord with readers, especially those who may have had to cope with the loss of a loved one. Cordell’s halftone cartoons convey the story’s pathos and humor, as well as Eleanor’s changeable moods.” –Publishers Weekly
“Cordell’s winsome cartoon drawings complement the text without overcrowding the verse. It tells a simple, poignant story that will resonate with any child who has ever had to say good-bye.” –Booklist
“This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Sternberg hits all the right notes here, capturing a sensitive kid’s first experience of loss with tender respectfulness and full acknowledgment that separation is a bereavement too. Sprightly line drawings, with the same perky homeyness as the story, add visual energy.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Heartfelt, accessible, and energetic…” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This heartwarming novel and its winsome cartoon-like illustrations draw readers right into the story. Children would enjoy this short chapter book as an independent read, but it would also be a particularly good choice for parents to read to or with their children.” –BookPage
Authors: By Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Imprint: Amulet Books
Availability: In Stock
Publishing Date: 3/1/2011
Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 7 1/2
Page Count: 128
Cover: Hardcover with jacket
Illustrations: 50 B&W illustrations
Julie Sternberg, formerly a public-interest lawyer, is a graduate of the New School’s MFA program in writing for children. This is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn. Matthew Cordell is the illustrator of Trouble Gum. He lives in Chicago.
Be sure to follow @abramskids on Twitter and Instagram!
Chad Beckerman is Creative Director for Amulet Books, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Abrams ComicArts and Abrams Appleseed at ABRAMS. For more interviews about other children’s book illustrators visit his blog: Mishaps and Adventures Interview Series.