cover image HELLO MUDDAH, HELLO FADDAH! (A Letter from Camp)


Allan Sherman, Lou Busch, , illus. by Jack E. Davis. . Dutton, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46942-1

The classic novelty song from the 1960s about a kid's (wildly exaggerated) disastrous first day at summer camp is given a refreshingly silly look in this picture book by the illustrator of the Zack Files series. Though it's only day one, things at Camp Granada are not going well—at least according to the child scribe of the letter that's at the heart of these lyrics. Rainy weather kicks off a long chain of disasters: "I went hiking with Joe Spivy,/ he developed poison ivy./ .../ Now I don't want/ this to scare ya,/ but my bunkmate/ has malaria." But as the rain clouds lift, so do the camper's spirits: "Wait a minute,/ it stopped hailing./ Guys are swimming,/ guys are sailing!/ Playing baseball,/ gee that's better./ Muddah, Faddah, kindly/ disregard this letter." Davis brings a comic sense of heightened drama to the proceedings. Faux-menacing cartoons depict his bespectacled, gap-toothed protagonist slogging through a series of dreary activities; persistent raindrops and swarms of mosquitoes and flies throughout these pages may have youngsters imagining an itch. And readers of a certain age will be challenged to not sing along. A perfect flashlight book for camp, a backyard tent or just plain indoor fun this summer. Ages 6-up. (May)