Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CAMP BUCCANEER by Pam Smallcomb


by Pam Smallcomb & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-84384-4
Publisher: Aladdin

Just because new readers will read just about anything they can decode, doesn’t mean they should have to. This newest offering in Aladdin’s Ready-for-Chapters has many of the hallmarks of a successful tale for new readers: comical storyline and wacky illustrations, generous font, brief chapters, and a heroine who stands up to a bully. Unfortunately, there’s not much to the story. Marlon is on vacation where she hears about a camp for pirates. Her distracted mother signs her up and, through some mildly humorous situations, Marlon learns to be a pirate. When she returns to school, no one believes her pirate camp stories until Peg Leg and Shark Bait see her distress flag, show up, and vouch for her. Though the illustrations are amusing and exaggerated, the story is simply flat. The attempts at pirate dialogue are confusing. “We’ll save that for tomorrow. But today ye’re swinging over to that there boat. ‘Carz sometimes ye’ll have to board another ship and do battle.’ ” Huh? One can almost hear the pitter-patter of second-grade feet up to the teacher for an interpretation of that. Readers who are making the transition to chapter books and who like funny stories might find the work of Pinkwater, Pilkey, and Scieszka more captivating. (Fiction. 7-9)