Letters from Camp

( 19 )

Overview

Mom and Dad,
You've got to get us out of here! When you get this letter, COME IMMEDIATELY!
-- Charlie

The brother-sister pairs who arrive for the summer at Camp Happy Harmony are almost too busy fighting with each other to notice how strange the camp really is. Not only are the campers forced to wear bizarre uniforms, eat gross food, and do chores all day, but the members of the family that runs the camp fight...

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Overview

Mom and Dad,
You've got to get us out of here! When you get this letter, COME IMMEDIATELY!
-- Charlie

The brother-sister pairs who arrive for the summer at Camp Happy Harmony are almost too busy fighting with each other to notice how strange the camp really is. Not only are the campers forced to wear bizarre uniforms, eat gross food, and do chores all day, but the members of the family that runs the camp fight constantly--with each other. Are the campers in danger? Or--in spite of sibling wars--do they need to stick together to solve the mystery humming under the surface of Camp Happy Harmony?

Sent to Camp Happy Harmony to learn how to get along with each other, pairs of brothers and sisters chronicle in letters home how they come to suspect the intentions of the singing family running the camp.

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Editorial Reviews

Fiction

Anyone who has been to summer camp will delight in this wild spoof of camp life told entirely in letters, memos, and whimsical illustrations, in a format similar to the Klises' Regarding the Fountain (1998. Three sets of brothers and sisters who hate each other find themselves trapped in Camp Happy Harmony, which promises to teach battling siblings love and respect. But the Harmony family, a crowd of has-been singers, turn out to be thieving con-artists plotting to murder each other. Led by the egotistical Darlene Harmony, the family uses the campers for drugged dinners and very little else. Darlene is trying to kill off the handyman, while two of the Harmonys (one of whom isn't even a real Harmony brother) are trying to poison the other four.

The campers, also oddballs, rise to the occasion by learning to cook, spying on the Harmonys, cracking the mystery, and exposing the Harmonys' crimes to the world. Along the way they also come to love one another. The illustrations are as important as the writing, allowing readers to become detectives and discover clues in the letters and pictures. Every character and every plot development is thoroughly silly, and every single one contributes to the charm of this novel. A real treat, ideal for having on hand for camp care packages.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A bit less satisfying than the Klises' Regarding the Fountain, this summer camp mystery employs the same roundabout storytelling style, unfolding its plot through an avalanche of letters, memos, menus, ledgers and legal documents. The premise is clever: Camp Happy Harmony, run by the six Harmony Family Singers, accepts siblings who constantly fight and turns them into happy brother-sister pairs. With an abundance of characters to keep straight, the author cooks up no-holds-barred caricatures and spoofs. Thus campers Barbie Q. and Brisket Roast, two bickering Texans who "fight like starving dogs over a T-bone," are joined by the snooty Brits Mimi and Ivan Gems and the very average Charlotte and Charlie Lee. It soon becomes apparent that the Harmony Singers are anything but a happy family, and the children set out to discover their not-so-nice secrets. The energetic string of documents that tell the story appear here on overactive spreads, seemingly designed to cater to the MTV generation's appetite for constant visual stimulation. On the whole this busy send-up offers easy entertainment: the humor is obvious but kid-friendly, the mystery simple yet fun to solve. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 Like the Klise's Regarding the Fountain Avon, 1998, this quirky, humorous novel is told through letters, memos, shopping receipts, ledger entries, post-its, and news articles. Three brother/sister pairs are signed up by their parents for a month at Camp Harmony, where they are to work on their inharmonious sibling relationships with the Harmonys, six over-the-hill siblings who were once a popular family singing act. Barbie Q. and Brisket Roast from Texas, Ivan and Mimi Gems from London, and Charlie and Charlotte Lee from Illinois quickly realize how strange the camp is, with its nonstop chores and terrible food. They also realize that the Harmonys don't really like one another. In fact, they seem to be trying to kill one another off. Ivan, an aspiring mystery writer, is in his element as the youngsters put aside their own squabbles, unite against the adults, and try to discover the truth. Ironically, in the process, the siblings learn to get along, just as the brochure promised. With copious black-and-white sketches, each page is a collage of written evidence through which the story unfolds not as a straightforward narrative, but rather piecemeal like a puzzle. The book has clearly drawn heroes and villains, lots of puns and knee-slapping shenanigans, and the illicit thrill of reading other peoples mail. A bit cute and chaotic, this novel will attract students with a wacky sense of humor who enjoy piecing together a mystery.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Anyone who has been to summer camp will delight in this wild spoof of camp life told entirely in letters, memos, and whimsical illustrations, in a format similar to the Klises' Regarding the Fountain (1998). Three sets of brothers and sisters who hate each other find themselves trapped in Camp Happy Harmony, which promises to teach battling siblings love and respect. But the Harmony family, a crowd of has-been singers, turn out to be thieving con-artists plotting to murder each other. Led by the egotistical Darlene Harmony, the family uses the campers for drudge work, assigning them to paint buildings and build fences, feeding them drugged dinners and very little else. Darlene is trying to kill off the handyman, while two of the Harmonys (one of whom isn't even a real Harmony brother) are trying to poison the other four. The campers, also oddballs, rise to the occasion by learning to cook, spying on the Harmonys, cracking the mystery, and exposing the Harmonys' crimes to the world. Along the way they also come to love one another. The illustrations are as important as the writing, allowing readers to become detectives and discover clues in the letters and pictures. Every character and every plot development is thoroughly silly, and every single one contributes to the charm of this novel. A real treat, ideal for having on hand for camp care packages. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380793488
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 364,872
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

As a correspondent for People magazine, Kate Klise covered everything from celebrity scandals to serial killers. After writing several bestselling children's books, Kate decided to write In the Bag, her first novel for adults, when she found a note from a fellow passenger in her carry-on bag.

Kate Klise and illustrator M. Sarah Klise are sisters who have been writing each other letters for more than twenty years, culminating in 1998 with their fiction debut, Regarding the Fountain. When they're not writing letters, Kate who lives in Norwood, MO, is a correspondent for People; Sarah is an art teacher that lives in Berkeley, California.

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Read an Excerpt

3 September 

Ms. Paige Turner
Publisher, #1 Books R Us
Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York USA

Dear Ms. Turner,

Here is my manuscript. I'm calling it Letters from Camp.

I didn't make any changes to the notes or the letters. I just put everything in chronological order, as you suggested. I think you'll agree that the letters speak for themselves.

I always thought I wanted to write novels, but you were right when you said the truth sometimes makes a better story. Besides, I couldn't make up half the things that happened at camp — the secrets, the songs, the sinister stroganoff.... But I'm getting ahead of myself and the mystery.

Enjoy the enclosed manuscript. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

With kind regards,

Ivan Gems

P.S. I'd like to dedicate this book to the friends I made at camp, all of whom became like brothers and sisters to me, and to my sister Mimi who became a friend.

P.P.S. If any of my writing makes me sound like an amateur, would you be so kind to edit it? As you know, this is my first mystery. I really hadn't planned on publishing until I was at least 14.

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Table of Contents

Welcome to Camp Happy Harmony, run by the Harmony Family Singers, a once-popular family singing act renowned for their theme song, "We'd Rather Sing Than Fight, 'Cause Being Polite Is Such a Delight." Now, desperate for a comeback, these six over-the-hill siblings have started a summer camp reputed to improve sibling relationships. But when three feuding brother-sister pairs — Barbie Q. and Brisket Roast, Mimi and Ivan Gems, and Charlotte and Charlie Lee — arrive for the first season at Camp Happy Harmony, they soon notice how strange the camp really is. For people who claim to repair disharmonious sibling relationships, the Harmonys seem far too busy arguing among themselves to do much good for the campers. And in fact, one or two of them may be plotting a murder. Told in letters, secret notes, memos, postcards, and witty illustrations, Letters From Camp is a parody of camp life that follows the campers as they put aside their sibling discord and unite to solve a fantastic, funny mystery and bring the villainous Harmonys to justice.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Book Filled Suspense

    Brother and sister pairs who cant stand themselves that are from different families are sent to a summer camp called Camp Happy Harmony. Problem is, Camp Happy Harmony isn't as great as it advertised and as their parents believed, in fact, it's a very strange summer camp. "Letters From Camp" is an extraordinary book that has a fascinating plot and writing style. Brisket Roast, Barbie Q. Roast, Ivan Gems, Mimi Gems, Charlie Lee, and Charlotte Lee were all sent to Camp Happy Harmony because they needed to bond and stop fighting with each other. Camp Happy Harmony is more like military camp to them because they have to wear crappy uniforms and do hour-long chores, like vacuuming, painting the theatre, feed the pigs, and washing the dishes.
    This book is a compelling book to read because of its style. Unlike like most books, there is a plot, characters and chapters but "Letters From Camp" is very different. It does have plots and characters but not chapters, this book is basically made up of a whole bunch of letters, postcards, and secret notes written by the camp staff (Dorothy Harmony, Dolly Harmony, Darlene Harmony, Dwayne Harmony, Dale Harmony and Daryl Harmony), the parents and the children at the camp to each other. I gave this book 4 stars because of its writing style, plot, and characters. As you continue to read the book, the harder it is to drop because of the suspense, and the many cliffhangers. You also want to find out the mystery behind Camp Happy Harmony and Harmony siblings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Fantastic!

    This book is really great because it's like 2 sides of a story. The characters are really diferent which makes the story so sweet. I really like how the story is set on music, instead of just 'Get me Outta here!' THis is great! If you are ages 8-12 you should probably read this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2008

    Geat Book, Great Style

    I just love this book! I've always loved books written in this style, made up of newspaper clippings, letters and stuff. I was overjoyed when I found Kate Klise, since most of her books are written in this style. Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2007

    A Great Mystery!!

    3 very different brothers and sisters get sent to a camp called ¿Camp Happy Harmony¿. When the siblings get there, they get a warm welcome from the so-called ¿Harmony Family Singers¿. But the siblings find out that there¿s something mysterious about the Harmony¿s. The siblings talk to each other by sending letters 'that get transported by a boat' to each other. While they are doing this, the Harmony¿s plan something fishy, and the kids try to figure it out. I really liked this book because I think it¿s fun to read a book in letterform. I also really liked it because the pace of the story wasn¿t too slow, but it wasn¿t too fast either. I think it was written very well because Kate Klise used very descriptive words. Another thing that Kate Klise did that made the story very interesting is that the characters didn¿t solve the problem right away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2004

    The best mystery I have ever read!!!!

    When I read this I could not put it down! I don't usually read mysteries so that was something. I really liked this book and I can't wait for more Kate Klise books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2004

    OMG!!! THIS BOOK IS THE BEST!!

    this is a really good book. i think any kid would enjoy it. its also good for adults, i would know!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2003

    Okay

    Good book, but there are some moments that you dont get. Like how Darlene got arrested! And how on week four who went where. I would give this a three, but the Klise sisters worked too hard. And some some stuff did not excite me and was really challwnging to understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2003

    Very Good!

    It was very enjoying for a teen to read especially one who loves summer camp.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2003

    I JUST LOVE IT!!

    I just love letters from camp. It was the greatest, just like all of Kate M. Klises books! i defintiley recommend this book to all book lovers out there!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    a camp hater

    I thought this book was great when I went to sleep away camp. Me & my best friend both read it in our spare time! even when it was lights out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2002

    MY FAVORITE!

    I loved this book! I usually hate reading but this made me want to read more and more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2002

    AWESOME

    Cool book you just fall in love with the charaters like mimi shes awesome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2002

    Absolutely Hilarious

    This is an awesome book. It's pure comedy. You can't help but fall in love with characters like Barbie Q. Roast and, her brother, Brisket Roast. This book is a mystery that isn't solved till the very end. It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2001

    Memo: Letters from Camp!

    Ever wanted to read your siblings mail? Well heres the closest your gonna get. Read letters from Camp! Letters from Camp is one of the best books I've ever read. I love the way she has letters for the whole book. Read this great book today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2001

    a gr8 book!

    hey this book is SUPER. It's cute and funny, and has a gr8 group of characters. i deffinatly give it 5 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2001

    This is a book that will catch your attention!

    This book is very adventurous and is very exciting and really is cool. I like it because the book is made up of letters. So it is very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Terriffic Book

    Letters from Camp is one of the best books I have ever read. I like how she writes the letters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Suprisingly FUNNY!!

    I wanted a funny or mystery book from my libray and i found the prefect book, although in some parts it was kind of confusing but other than that it was wonderful!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2000

    Awsome and Funny!!!!!!!!!

    This is a Funny and very entertaining book that I highly reccomend!!! Though for some at first it maybe be hard to catch up to , but soon your laughing your way along! GET THIS BOOK!!!!!!!

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews

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