Review Blog

Nov 24 2014

Cartboy goes to camp by L.A. Campbell

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317754
(Ages: 8-12) Hal Rifkind, a.k.a. Cartboy, returns in this second title in the series. Hal's dad is sending him to summer camp at Camp Jamestown, the only problem being that this is a history camp, where nothing has changed for 400 years. Of course, the school bully is also at the camp, tormenting Hal and generally making life even more miserable. At least Hal and his new friends have something to keep their minds off their worries - a treasure map!
The book is written as a series of letters to a futuristic being (Hal is hoping they will find a way of travelling back through time to save him from camp) and it feels too contrived, playing to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid format. While some of the time-line illustrations are amusing, many of the other photos and pictures don't really add anything to the book other than breaking up the text. The stereotyping of the major characters and too many coincidences and story-leaps may be annoying for many readers, and Australian children won't relate to the American idea of summer camp.
Donella Reed

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