CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005
Eric Walters’ fast-paced story, set in Ontario during the Second World War, is the sequel to Camp X; however, readers do not need to be familiar with the first novel to enjoy Camp 30, as Walters is careful to frame the references to the boys’ Camp X exploits.
Walters keeps his readers involved via a number of unexpected loops in the plot. George, the narrator, is regularly led into tight spots by his older brother, who is relentlessly trying to aid his country’s war effort. As a result, the boys are continually prying themselves out of tight squeezes. For example, Jack’s insistence that they investigate a suspicious-looking building leads to their capture by the German soldiers ... and nearly results in their being spirited away by an enemy submarine! The short chapters make a point of ending with suspense, heightening the reader’s attention to the brothers’ spiraling state of affairs.
As well as satisfying the need for tension, Camp 30 contains compelling particulars about small-town Canadian life during World War II, historical details of which adolescents would be unaware. For example, the description of the numerous prisoner-of-war camps in the country is among the most interesting information presented: Jack and George observe that the Germans prisoners live under better conditions than the average Canadian citizens, having such luxuries as ice cream, fresh produce, and a swimming pool. Walters, in fact, emphasizes throughout the novel the importance that people know their own past and, to underscore this significance, has a local shopkeeper emphasize to George and Jack: “‘Aren’t they teaching you kids history anymore?’ he asked. ‘That’s what’s wrong with schools today, not teaching kids about their own past.’”
30 is especially directed toward 10- and 11-year-olds who will
be more likely to relate to the narrator’s irritation at being
perceived as naive and inexperienced in comparison to his older brother.
However, the book will interest other Middle Years readers, especially
boys, who enjoy war-related historical fiction.
Pam Klassen-Dueck is a Grade 8 teacher at Gillis School in Tyndall, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.