Camp K-9, written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Nancy Hayashi. Recently published in May 2011, this charming book will sure to be a favorite among kids. Rodman attended summer camps as a child and later became a camp counselor. The illustrations are in lovely pastels and set the tone for the book. Hayashi began writing and illustrating her own books in third grade.
Roxie and her fellow dog campers are headed for Camp K-9. But, Roxie has a secret she tightly guards in her pooch pouch — her blankie. From the beginning she and all the campers are taunted by a white Standard Poodle, Lucy. It’s rotten luck for Roxie when she is paired with the large canine trouble maker. They share a bunk and are partners in many camp activities that include swimming, boating, and arts and crafts. One day Lucy is missing. The camp is in an uproar searching for Lucy. But, Roxie finds Lucy and discovers that she has a secret. Will she tell?
Plantzilla Goes to Camp, written by Jerdine Nolen and illustrated by David Catrow for kids 4-8 years of age. I must say this is one of the most imaginative and vividly designed books I’ve run across. The text is written in letters, post cards and telegrams. It is heartwarming with a very subtle message about friendship and self-confidence. The illustrations are bold, colorful and quirky, which just adds to the total charm of the book. Kids will love this book! It is the second in a series, the first book is Plantzilla.
Mortimer Henryson is off to Camp Wannaleaveee for a month. He’s following family tradition and attending the camp his father attended as a boy. The only problem is that he’s not allowed to take along his pet. For Mortimer this means he’ll be separated from his beloved exotic plant, nicknamed Plantzilla by the kids in his class, and his dog. His teacher offers to plant-sit and dog-sit. At camp, Mortimer shares a cabin with a bully who is the biggest kid in camp. He pleads to come home. Plantzilla, sensing his friend is in trouble , shows up to camp. That’s when the fun begins and many lessons are to be learned by all.
Cowboy Camp, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Mike Reed, for kids 4-8 years of age. The illustrations are colorful, bold and humorous. They beautifully support the text and western theme. Cowboy Camp is another book kids will identify with, and want to read again and again.
Avery knew the minute he arrived at Cowboy Camp, that he didn’t fit in. All the kids were larger than he was, and had names like Hank and Jimmy Dean. His belly heaved when he ate cowboy chow. Even worse, he was allergic to horses. How would he ever live up to Cowboy Dan’s expectations to act, walk and talk like a buckaroo. Avery sits alone by the campfire one evening contemplating his situation, when he hears a strange noise and sees a shadow. Avery acts in his own unique way, and becomes the camp hero and the bravest cowboy of all.
Going to summer camp is a rite of passage for children. For many, it is their first time away from home. I like these three books because they address all the fears and concerns kids face on their own. They worry about not fitting in, homesickness and bullies. There many good summer camps available to children including scouting, sports, horse, music and art, and weight-loss camps. Attending a camp can be a great way for kids to begin to build independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence.