Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Part visual puzzle, part linguistic romp, this collaboration by Lyon and Catalanotto (Who Came Down That Road?, see below) contains a slight, implied story about two girls at camp, but tells it in an unusual way-with no dialogue and no narration, and with images that nest inside one another like Russian dolls. The reader infers, for example, that the two main characters are named Megan and Sarah, but knows these names only because they are stenciled on the camp clothes shown on the endpapers. Like a staccato accompaniment to a wordless story, the text is a series of three, two-word rhymes that appear in bold black letters-"frog log/ bug tug/ snake shake." Catalanotto's luminous paintings, like a trio of different-sized cards, lie on top of each other, the top card seen in its entirety and the other two visible only as borders; e.g., an outside border reveals the campers' intent faces as they watch a frog ("frog log"), the inner border features a closeup of squirming ants ("bug tug"), and the full-view painting in the center shows the campers running away from a snake ("snake shake"). Lyon occasionally strains at rhymes (what is an "own stone"?), but the alert reader can piece together the activities the girls share at "Damp Camp." The sparse plot, based almost entirely on pictorial cues, will frustrate readers who want something to sink their teeth into, but visually oriented readers may enjoy the challenge of finding a story between the rhymes. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3Megan and Sarah begin their camp experience as loners and end it as supportive friends. The journey takes them through craft classes, swimming, hiking, and campfires. Told in three pairs of words per spread"HIGH SKY/ BACK PACK/ SNAIL TRAIL"the text is both spare and lyrical. Catalanotto's innovative style layers watercolor paintings on top of one another, three scenes to a page, so that only the top one is fully visible. They are planned so carefully, however, that viewers may imagine what is hidden from sight. Extraordinary work is what we've come to expect from these collaborators, and the promise is once again delivered.Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Susan Dove Lempke
The endpapers help tell the story in this picture book, beginning with an array of camp clothing spread out, each item neatly labeled "Megan." Next we see a girl wearing the labeled flip-flops heading to the outhouse, followed by the first of the book's double-page spreads. On each spread, a picture is within a picture within a picture, each labeled with a rhyming pair of words, each following a group of girl campers through their day, as they see things on a hike ("frog log / bug tug / snake shake" ) and set up tents for the night. Without close observation, readers will enjoy a mundane but colorful series of camp activities, but keen observation is rewarded with a gradually unfolding story of friendship, culminating in a joint trip to the spooky outhouse. The closing endpapers show Megan's once-tidy wardrobe in satisfyingly mud-spattered disarray, mixed in with more clothes labeled "Sarah." Catalanotto's sun-dappled, joyful pictures will have both adult and child readers longing for camp to start. Be sure to point this title out to scout leaders.
A book of pictures and rhymes about life in a girls' camp, highly original in style, but sadly undistinguished in substance, from veteran collaborators (Dreamplace, 1993, etc.).
Each two-page spread is filled with three overlapping watercolor pictures, with a big picture framing a smaller picture, and the smaller picture framing the smallest picture, so that only the edges of the two larger pictures are visible. Each of the three pictures is labeled in big block letters with a two-word rhyme: "high sky/back pack/snail trail." The overlapping images are related to one another in a number of different ways with interesting visual effects. Two drawbacks: Catalanotto's paintings, as always, are skillful, but without a trace of excitement and often at cross-purposes with the playfully abstract layout of the book. Second, Lyon's rhymes evoke camp life and hiking trips, but are otherwise lifeless. What drives the book is the design alone; it may not be enough to keep and hold readers.