Ah, yes, summer school is over and now I can blog about the books I’m reading for myself. I do intend to continue doing book reviews, just without the titles and sections necessary for class. And what better way to celebrate than with a review of a book about camp?

Postcards from Camp, by Simms Taback

I’ve seen this book at the circ desk the last couple of weeks and finally took the chance to read it today. Can I just say, I’ve never been more wistful about summers during my childhood? I loved camp. I loved checking off the packing list, and shopping for camp clothes, and the old screened-in cabins, and the bell that would be rung loudly to announce meal times, and mail call. Of course the first day was always a little nerve-wracking (except for the summer after 8th grade, when Jill and I took it upon ourselves to run up to every single person at camp and introduce ourselves. I think I had just read Paula Danziger’s There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, where one of the CITs does that), and sometimes it took more than the first day to find a groove.

Postcards from Camp is a story told in art, and that art is, well, postcards. And maps. And letters. And even a pretty funny ransom note. The story itself isn’t particularly ground-breaking – any person who has ever been to camp will already foresee what happens – but the way it is told is just fantastic. Michael and his father correspond throughout the summer. There are pull-out notes, “envelopes”, drawings of the camp counselor (who Michael says is an alien, and also a vegetarian!), and even a pretty memorable ghost story that Mr. Stevens prints on a little pamphlet and sends to Michael at camp. So very fun. If you’re contemplating sending your kids to camp, and there’s a little hesitation on your or their part, share this book! It may help ease you into the idea. One word of caution: if you’re looking for this at the library, ask the juvenile reference desk. Both of the library systems here have this book marked for library use only, and that may be common at most public libraries.

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