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Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom

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Justin is going to start fourth grade?but first, he has to survive the summer. He ?gets? to go to camp every day on a bus. He ?gets? to experience all sorts of new things: Bugs. Mess hall food. Flip-flops (they hurt the space between his toes and they?re hard to walk in). And (gulp!) swimming.

Justin?s little sister, Elizabeth, seems to deal with camp just fine. So do his friends. Justin is trying very hard not to be a worried kid anymore, especially when it comes to making ...

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Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom

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Justin is going to start fourth grade—but first, he has to survive the summer. He “gets” to go to camp every day on a bus. He “gets” to experience all sorts of new things: Bugs. Mess hall food. Flip-flops (they hurt the space between his toes and they’re hard to walk in). And (gulp!) swimming.

Justin’s little sister, Elizabeth, seems to deal with camp just fine. So do his friends. Justin is trying very hard not to be a worried kid anymore, especially when it comes to making friends at camp, including a new kid who is kind of . . . rough. After all, Justin is going to be in fourth grade. It’s time to be brave. Right?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Summer vacation has just begun, and Justin Case has Nothing to Worry About. He is tired of being a worried kid and he's ready to return to Camp Golden Brook. What could be more fun than a summer at camp? Soon Justin starts to hate summer camp because it goes by too quickly. Camp Golden Brook is not like real life; campers are required to jump into a cold pool first thing in the morning. While the camp's website portrays happy children in attendance, summer camp isn't always fun. Justin wishes he could take a day off from swimming. He's tired of diving into cold water, getting dressed in front of other people, and spending the entire day wet. He also misses science camp, where he could be studying zoology. As the days pass, Justin regrets playing Knuckles; it's painful when kids smack your knuckles with a deck of cards. Halfway through the summer, Justin's parents give him the option of leaving Camp Golden Brook. But he decides to return to camp and conquers his fears in the meantime. By the end of the summer, Justin decides to invent a health food that tastes just like gummy worms. He wins second place in the backstroke and makes lifelong friends at camp. The "Justin Case" series is a fun adventure for young readers, who will fall in love with the antics and voice of a young boy. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—This summer, Justin is worrying much less than he used to. With his newfound bravery, he decides to sign up for the "runny-aroundy" summer camp with his second-best friend, Noah, instead of his usual science camp. Upon arrival, he finds himself overwhelmed by deep-ended swimming pools, rowdy sports, tough new kids, an "ouchy" game called knuckles, and a mean, camp counselor. Just when Justin thinks he can't take any more, he finds a reserve of inner strength that allows him to shine and even save the day. Vail seems to know exactly what third graders are thinking. Justin is a wonderful, worried, plucky main character to whom kids will relate. Humorous black-and-white cartoon illustrations appear throughout. The story is subtly lesson-filled, funny, and full of realistic summer-camp-kid situations. Recommend it to fans of Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series (Abrams).—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Justin tries to convince himself that, in spite of his well-earned nickname, he is not a worried kid anymore and that summer vacation means that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. He forgoes Science Camp for the kind of camp where he will encounter "runny-aroundy kids" and challenges of a different kind, which he looks forward to facing with grim determination. Some old fears do persist, like the evil Boiler in the basement, Jell-O and the rug-shampooer. Scary thoughts have a way of sneaking up on him and it turns out that camp provides an endless number of new things to worry about. Changing clothes, jumping in cold water, getting hit with a ball of any size, Swim Test, counselors, Color War and those horrible flip-flops all fill him with terror. Written again in the form of a journal, this sequel reintroduces the thoroughly delightful Justin Case in all his worried glory and very active imagination. Vail employs language and syntax that perfectly capture the thought processes of this precocious almost–fourth grader. Cordell's black line, scribble sketches depict some of the goofier actions and Justin's wildest imaginings. Justin's self-deprecating voice cannot hide his core sweetness and kindness, for he remains a great brother, a generous friend and a hero, too. Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 7-10)
From the Publisher
Praise for Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom:

“Vail seems to know exactly what third graders are thinking.” —School Library Journal

“Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun for middle-grade readers.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Praise for Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters:

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2010

An IndieBound Selection for Fall 2010

“The writing is sharp, unpredictably clever, and establishes third grade as a minefield of the absurd—which is to say, real life.” —Avi, Newbery Medalist

“Vail employs easy, direct language in a rhythm, and syntax that captures the essence of a charming, lovable, and very believable boy. Readers transitioning to longer fiction will groan, sympathize, and laugh out loud in delight. Absolutely marvelous.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Honest and full of heart, Justin Case is a story for an oft-ignored segment of kids: the sensitive, introverted, and observant. The format will remind many readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but with fewer illustrations and a more reflective tone than Jeff Kinney’s series. This is subtly satisfying storytelling.” —School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250000811
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 585,280
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Vail is the author of numerous novels and picture books, including Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters, Piggy Bunny, and Flabbersmashed About You. She lives in New York City with her husband and sons. You can visit her online at

Matthew Cordell is the author and illustrator of the picture books Trouble Gum and Another Brother, also published by Feiwel and Friends. He lives outside of Chicago with his wife, the author Julie Halpern, and their daughter. You can visit him online at

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Customer Reviews

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