cover image Summer Camp Critter Jitters

Summer Camp Critter Jitters

Jory John, illus. by Liz Climo. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-11098-0

In this endearing companion to the collaborators’ First Day Critter Jitters, the critters are back, and they’re as worried as ever—this time, about attending sleepaway camp. John shares each critter’s concern with winning candor. Norman the snake, for one, is worried about making friends: “Have you ever bumped into a snake in the woods? It doesn’t usually go so well,” a speech bubble reads, as the dot-eyed reptile imagines other critters fleeing in fear. Climo’s expressive, fine-lined comics-style drawings, rendered digitally, similarly don’t pull any punches (Chauncy the mouse imagines a looming, wholly unscalable bunk bed) in art that offers reassurance in its soft hues, visual crispness, and clear empathy. The group mournfully sighs all the way to Camp Super Fun, but an inadvertent team exercise and the late arrival of Sloth—initially mistaken for a campfire ghost—changes the mood dramatically, forging a tight bond across the group and instilling a newfound appreciation for camp life. Camp veterans won’t find the resolution surprising, but the creators handle the subject matter expertly, with psychological astuteness and humor. Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]