Camp Secrets: Camp K-9 by Mary Ann Rodman
"WE'RE CAMP K-9 PUPS, AND WE'RE THE BEST!" HOWL THE DOGS ON THE BUS.
ALL EXCEPT ME.
I HAVE A SECRET TO GUARD. IT'S IN MY POOCH POUCH, SAFE IN MY LAP.
Roxie's secret is her blankie, hidden at the bottom of her Camp K-9 backpack, something she is ashamed to admit that she must have to feel safe. But keeping a shameful secret is hard work, and it makes making friends with her bunkmates in the Mutt Hut hard.
"BUT BEING FRIENDS MEANS SHARING SECRETS, AND I CAN'T SHARE MINE," SHE THINKS.
Roxie has one built-in bond with her bunkmates, though. They are all afraid of the pushy poodle Lacey, who bullies everyone right from the start. When Lacey pushes Roxie off the bunk she has chosen and marked with her pooch pouch, Roxie is afraid to stand up to her, and the other campers pretend not to notice so that they won't have to stand up to Lacey either. But Roxie can't help noticing that Lacey hangs on to her own pooch pouch, too, even as she bosses her all the way through their canoeing lesson.
"I WANT MY BLANKIE AND I WANT IT NOW!" ROXIE THINKS TO HERSELF.
At last the long first day of camp is over and Roxie is comforted by the thought of her blankie, waiting safely stashed under her pillow. But as the campers turn in for lights out, a sharp-eyed girl make a surprising discovery!
"A BLANKIE! LACEY'S GOT A BLANKIE!
The rough, tough Lacey sleeps with a blankie? The Mutt Hut mates are astounded and sense a chance to get even with Lacey for her meanness all day. But then Roxie has a moment of truth.
"WAIT A MINUTE! SHE'S SCARED. SHE'S NOT REALLY MEAN. SHE WAS JUST HIDING HER BLANKIE, LIKE ME!"
Mary Ann Rodman's and Nancy Hayashi's brand-new Camp K-9(Peachtree, 2011) handles one of the fears that sleepover camps bring out in the bravest of campers, the fear that the others will find something about them to tease, and the idea that everyone has their own fears is consoling and the means to a giggly resolution to this situation, as the other girls break out their own blankies at bedtime. Pair this one with Laura Numeroff's recent similarly themed story, The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff for a pair of stories which will help ease those pre-camp jitters.