________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 29. . . .April 2, 2010.


Shell Shocked: Camp X.

Eric Walters.
Toronto, ON: Puffin Canada, 2009.
263 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-14-331241-3.

Subject Headings:
World War, 1939-1945-Secret service-Canada-Juvenile fiction
Spies-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.





The hall was empty and I could hear my footsteps echo in the silence. I started to get anxious inside and then stopped myself. I’d faced men with guns. I’d stared straight into the face of Nazi agents threatening to kill me. What was the worst this man could do? Yell at me? Well… he did have a strap, and I’d heard that he wasn’t afraid to use it. And he did always seem to be out in the schoolyard at recess watching people… in fact, a couple of times I’d thought he was watching me. I started to feel anxious again.
I stopped in front of the office and took a couple of deep breaths. I wanted to be calm, look calm, act calm, like I’d done nothing wrong. I opened the door… and saw jack sitting there.
“Jack, what did you do?"
“I guess I could ask you the same thing.” He looked over at the secretary. “Any idea?”
She barely looked up from her typewriter, shook her head slightly and kept typing, hardly missing a keystroke.

Twelve-year-old George and his 15-year-old brother, Jack, think like spies and react like heroes. In this fourth book in the “Camp X” series, Nazi agents have infiltrated an ammunitions plant in Ajax, ON. Their attempt to destroy the place with explosions and fires is thwarted when George and Jack start working undercover in the plant. The adolescents divert a burning bus into a safe clearing and crawl underground among the steam pipes to cut wires and gather plastic explosives. Putting their lives at risk, they manage to save thousands.

     Eric Walters’ inclusion of World War I and II history makes this story feel authentic and adds to the character development of the males and females working for or against Camp X. George and Jack may be highly regarded as spies, but they fight like typical brothers and make mistakes when it comes to keeping their old identities a secret. When they attend school, George often falls asleep in class, and Jack becomes preoccupied with thoughts of his new, much older girlfriend. They also get called to the principal’s office; but it’s not for truancy or fighting. It’s for recruitment in matters of surveillance and peacekeeping.

     Although the brothers’ past adventures with Camp X are touched on in this book, Shell Shocked can be read as a stand-alone. Readers who enjoy fast paced spy stories will quickly become engrossed in this book.

     Camp X, Camp 30, and Camp X: Fool’s Gold are the first three titles in the “Camp X” series. A former teacher and social worker, Toronto born author Eric Walters has received many awards and nominations for his books. He lives in Ontario.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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