I procrastinated reading Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake for ages. Not because I didn’t enjoy Julie Sternberg’s other two Eleanor books–because I did–and not because it was incredibly long–because it’s not. No, I procrastinated because, according to the description, it was one of those plots. The kind where the new girl comes in between a pair of friends, and the left-out friend does something mean, and oh, the drama! The good news is, once I made myself get into it, it was a lot like the first several seasons of “Castle”; it resolved a common and frustrating conflict in an unexpectedly positive, not-annoying way. Hallelujah!
In the first place, the new girl is perfectly nice and friendly to both friends. Eleanor feels left out because Pearl is assigned to be Ainsley’s buddy, which ends up taking away some of the after-school time the two usually spend together. What’s more, Eleanor’s mean thing is a spur-of-the-moment, desperate to deflect attention from herself sort of thing, NOT a premeditated act. As an adult, you know early on that there will be trouble, but everyone involved is just being a regular elementary schooler. The resolution isn’t aggravatingly drawn out, and it has some laugh-out-loud moments. What’s not to love? Carrot Juice is a good example of dealing with everyday elementary school conflict, and a great read for grades 1-3. If you’ve got a daughter that age, don’t miss the Eleanor books!