Postcards from Camp.
Taback, Simms (author). Illustrated by Simms Taback.
June 2011. 40p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, hardcover, $17.99 (9780399239731). Grades 1-3.
REVIEW. First published July, 2011 (Booklist).
This epistolary picture book tells the story of a boy’s first summer at camp, with interactive features that begin on the title page with a foldout supply list for Camp Woodland. In alternating cards and letters, Michael complains about camp life, while his father, Harry, responds with reassurances. The creative details are entertaining and engaging. Harry sends Michael a handmade postcard with a patent-pending design for “The Never Leaky Camp Raincoat Suit.” Michael responds with a handcrafted ransom note, decorated with forbidding photos of Marilyn Manson and King Kong. Taback’s use of color echoes the story’s varying moods: Michael’s complaints appear against muddy greens and rainy blues, while his father’s bolstering replies are set on sunnier oranges and reds. Then, Michael sends a final, bright-purple card to his new camp BFFs. Though the removable pieces pose circulation challenges, the humorous, tender story of a boy’s first time away from home and his affectionate connections to his father make this an appealing package suited for any library. — Thom Barthelmess