Saturday, April 16, 2011

Camp Rocks: The Jelly Beans and the Big Camp Kickoff by Laura Numeroff

It's summertime and the Jellybeans, a group of girls united by their love for those little oval, bright-colored candies and their passion for their individual interests are off for their first sleepover camp experience. They are a bit nervous on the bus, but with each other for support, they feel they'll fit in just fine.

And they all do, except for Nicole. Emily hangs out at the studio with the other devoted dancers and builds leg strength on long nature walks. Artsy Bitsy starts making everyone personalized macaroni necklaces. And bookworm Anna hits the camp library for books on the local flora and fauna. But to her dismay, Nicole finds that there is NO soccer team at Camp Pook-a-Wow. Bummer!

"I'm sorry, Nicole," said Mrs. Jangley-Cheezer, "but Camp Pook-A-Wow doesn't have a soccer team. There are lots of other sports you could try."

Gamely, Nicole tries out all the camp sports. A self-proclaimed tomboy, she's good at most of them--swimming, archery, kayaking--but for a girl who takes her soccer ball to bed, she feels somehow out of sync at camp despite the usual fun of campfire ghost tales and marshmallow roasts. The other Jellybeans are right at home at Pook-A-Wow, but Nicole still feels like the odd Jellybean out.

Then she gets an inspiration! The nearby rival camp has a soccer team. Perhaps she can recruit some campers, share her skills, and give Camp Pook-A-Wow a winning team. Now if she can just get her best friends to lend their skills to the action, she may just salvage her summer.

Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans again combine the authorly skills with noted illustrator Lynn Munsinger in the latest in their best-selling series, The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff (Abrams, 2011) in a light-hearted confection of a picture book which makes the potentially traumatic first camp experience go down like a spoonful of sugar. Numeroff's little heroines again show that their individual differences and interests provide strength to their group of friends as they master yet another of the milestones of childhood with their friendship still alive--and kickin'.

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