Review Blog

Dec 07 2014

Cartboy goes to camp by L.A. Campbell

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317754
Recommended for readers from 9-12 years. With an abundance of graphic journal and diary novels for preteen readers, L. A. Campbell's Cartboy follows in the footsteps of Jeff Kinney's Wimpy kid. Nerdy kid, family dramas, bully, helpful friends and a setting fraught with difficulties to overcome. Cartboy is a sixth-grader who earned his nickname when he took his school books in an old-lady cart to class.
In this second novel, Hal Rifkind is still an inept guy whose summer holidays are ruined by his parents. Dad is a history nut and instead of spending the summer playing computer games and eating donuts, Cartboy is sent off to camp. Of course Camp Jamestown is a historical representation of American life four hundred years ago. Campers learn how to gather water from the stream, churn butter, even plant crops, shoot bows and arrows, and if they complain they are punished.
Cartboy adds humorous photos and cartoons to his diary entries, pleading for someone to rescue him. Of course, his arch-nemesis Ryan Harper, known for giving Cartboy an excruciating Sweatpants Wedgie on the last day of school, is also at camp. Each of the entries is creatively titled with pleas - Dear Possible Driver of a Time-Travel machine.
This is a relatable and funny story about growing up, valuing friends, making the best of a bad situation and bully-busting.
Rhyllis Bignell

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