Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shelf Life [kids]

Nerd Camp, by Elissa Brent Weissman, 261 pages.
@ SPL: J FIC Weiss

Ten-year-old Gabe has been accepted to an unusual and rather elite camp: the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. He knows that some kids would consider the camp - with its focus on science, logic and writing activities - to be a bit of a “nerd camp”, but Gabe is looking forward to his time there. However, he is worried what his soon-to-be stepbrother, Zack, might think of him – so he lets Zack think that it’s a normal “sleepaway” camp.

Understandably, Gabe is also nervous about meeting his bunkmates and the other campers. Will he fit in?
The camp turns out to be even more enjoyable than Gabe had expected. His bunkmates, though a little “quirky”, quickly become good friends. The activities – both outdoor and indoor - are awesome, and the counselors are friendly and inspiring. The campers find that they are never bored, and the six weeks go by very quickly. There’s even a midnight “invasion” by a UFO filled with aliens (who bear noticeable resemblances to the camp counsellors)!

Gabe even undertakes an adventure on behalf of his camp team when he rows himself to Deadman’s Island, which is reputed to be haunted. (Only one other camper is brave enough to try the same stunt.) His teammates consider Gabe a hero, but Gabe is still worried about Zack’s opinion of him. His worries are put to rest, however, when Zack discovers the type of camp that Gabe has attended – and is very impressed. Gabe realizes that although he and Zack are different in various ways, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends as well as brothers

Appealing and humorous, Nerd Camp carries an important message about self-acceptance, peer pressure and being “cool”. Weissman’s book will appeal to gifted kids, to those going to camp this summer … and to anyone who enjoys a good story.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors, by Jane Drake and Ann Love, 176 pages.
@ SPL: J 796.083

Beyond the front door is a world of fun and fascination, as this children’s book by sisters Jane Drake and Ann Love so aptly demonstrates.

Suggestions for outdoor games, other activities and nature projects, and facts and stories about nature have been compiled in this handy book which also includes easy-to-follow directions, specific beach activities and a few indoor pastimes for inclement weather. Selected activities consist of both the traditional (such as marble games) and the new (such as making a worm farm), and all are inexpensive, fun and uncomplicated.

While most of the activities are best for the summer months, some are winter pastimes, and a simple star-watching guide is provided for each season.
 With these nifty suggestions for outdoor pursuits, kids will have few reasons to be glued to a screen inside the house this summer!

Jane Drake and Ann Love, who live in the Toronto area, have written a number of children’s books which are available at the library, including The Kids Campfire Book and The Kids Book of the Night Sky.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on July 12th, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

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