Jerdine Nolen
Lauren McGill's Pickle Mueum
Debbie Tilley, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003
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  Lauren McGill's Pickle Museum


Meet Lauren McGill. She's unlike any girl her age—a master at hopscotch, a pro at double Dutch jump rope, and counting the minutes until her next sleepover.

But there's one thing that makes Lauren special: She is absolutely crazy about pickles. Dill. Kosher. Gherkins. All kinds of pickles. Pickles are her very own.

Then, after a class trip to the pickle factory, Lauren's entire class—even the boys—starts to share her love for pickles. Lauren is lost and forlorn—she doesn't feel special anymore. That is, until she learns how to share.

Jerdine Nolen's exuberant story of serendipity and discovery, combined with Debbie Tilley's charming artwork, creates an inspired book about the joy of giving.


“Lauren loves pickles with a passion. For her class's field trip to a pickle factory, she even dresses head to toe in shades of green—‘elegant emerald, chilling chartreuse’—to look like the briny treat. When an experiment gone wrong results in an explosion, the girl springs into action and saves the day, thereby spreading her love of pickles to the rest of the class. Rather than heroic, however, she feels lost. Her enthusiasm for pickles had made her unique, but now everyone shares her taste for them. Advised by her mother that ‘Giving brings giving back,’ she opens a pickle museum. Some readers may find the protagonist's extreme devotion to pickles a bit hard to swallow. Lines such as ‘I could never lose respect for something so silent, bumpy, beautiful, and green’ are presented with straight-faced solemnity. Nolen's literary style and extensive vocabulary place the story beyond the reading level of most primary graders, but it is easy to follow visually when read aloud, thanks to Tilley's watercolor paintings. The characters are simply sketched, but their subtle facial expressions and body language clearly illustrate the action and emotion of each scene, and pickle paraphernalia adds fun details. This title will appeal to some tastes more than others. (Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA, School Library Journal)

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