Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of In the Books, featuring DANIEL THE CAMP-ER by S.J. Henderson.
Disclaimer: I was an editor for this novel, but that doesn’t affect my honest review.
About the Book: There are a few simple rules Daniel follows.
Rule One: never let an adult see your weakness. Daniel made that mistake and look where he ended up—summer camp.
Rule Two: never make fun of the person who feeds you, unless you like Miss Gunderson’s peppery pancakes and green hamburgers.
Rule Three: stay away from girls who love Glitter Ponies. They have cooties, after all.
And Rule Four: never, ever lose your magic pencil.
But Daniel has broken all of his own rules. Now he’s stuck and starving at Camp Bigfoot with the school bully as his bunkmate and an ooey-gooey girl who won’t leave him alone. If all of that wasn’t bad enough, his prized possession, a pencil that brings his drawings to life, has gone missing and wacky creatures are popping up all over camp.
Can Daniel survive Camp Bigfoot and find his magic pencil before it’s too late?
My Review: Though this book is slated for the age group of 6-12, but anyone looking for an entertaining read can enjoy this. I think I mentioned this in previous reviews, but I love reading children’s books. There’s something about them that brings back the “good old days” and the innocence of a kid’s life. More than that, DANIEL THE CAMP-ER really captured the thoughts and voice of a nine year old boy. Everything from not liking girls at that age to dealing with bullies and coming up with excuses and reasons that sound perfectly logical in our heads, but fall flat when spoken.
One of the things I really don’t like about many books is the need to talk down to the reader or make sure to put things I an ultra-positive learning type of format while making the characters appear two-dimensional. I’m glad to say that didn’t happen here. In fact, I saw a lot of myself in Daniel and couldn’t stop laughing from the beginning. The tongue-in-cheek manner the book is written follows the thought patterns of a young boy. We’re nowhere clean or elegant while trying to navigate the confusing world around us.
The one negative about the book was the adults running the camp. There were times I wondered how or why any of them were there, as they seemed to lack a certain touch when it comes to dealing with kids. This concern faded when I looked at it as their actions were being told to us through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy. There isn’t a child alive that doesn’t embellish or make up stories to go with what they saw, so this wasn’t really an issue for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the first and third installments as well. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with being a kid again.