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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2009
I am so glad that I'm getting to relive my youth through my daughter! Don't take that wrong because I'm not one of those parents....I just love reading books that are geared towards her age range. What I love even more is when we both read the same book and then discuss it! That is the case with ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO CAMPING, HIKING, AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS by Lenore Look and pictures by LeUyen Pham. I just don't remember there being this many good middle-grade books out there when I was ten years old.

My daughter is probably a little on the older side for this book because it is really aimed for children ages 6 through 10; however, I still think many 10 year olds will enjoy the book as a quick, funny read. Alvin Ho is absolutely hilarious as a young boy who is afraid of almost everything. In this book, his father wants to take him camping and poor Alvin is just terrified of everything that could possibly go wrong. Maybe one of the reason that I liked this book so much is that I can so relate to his feelings about the great outdoors!

This book is really perfect for those kids who are ready to read chapter books, yet aren't quite ready for a book with a lot of pages. This book is a little over 150 pages, but the print is large and there is lots of white space on each page. There are also a few very cute (and funny) illustrations thrown into the body of the chapters. I especially liked that there is a glossary (Alvin Ho's Very Scary Glossary) at the back of the book with definitions of some possibly "new" words.

Kids are going to love Alvin and his adventures. I thought his paranoia was so funny, and I found myself laughing a lot at his insecurities. Even if your child isn't quite ready to read this book on his or her own, it's also a great book to read with your child. This book is being sold as "ideal for any father and son to read together before braving the untamed wilderness. Or, a perfectly manicured trail." Each chapter is just about the perfect length for a bedtime story.

I really thought Alvin Ho was a great character, and I want to go back and read the first novel in the series ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO GIRLS, SCHOOLS, AND OTHER SCARY THINGS. If it's anything like this book, I'm sure Booking Daughter and I will both enjoy it! I am looking forward to more Alvin Ho books, and I'm betting that Booking Son is going to love them in a few years.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2009
Alvin is still getting into mischief and wriggling his way out of sticky situations in the second book in this series: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters. While it didn't tickle me as much as the first in the series, it was a fun read. In the second chapter, Alvin receives a package at the front door.

"I ripped open the kit right there in the driveway. Inside, there were pencils, stickers, handcuffs, and handcuff key, a rope, a Houdini's Greatest Escapes DVD and a gold card.
'Alvin Ho -- GOLD MEMBER OF HOUDINI-IN-A-BOX -- do it yourself escapes'
Calvin whistled. 'Dude!' he said."

How great would it be for a second-grader to get a Houdini-in-a-box kit?! Funny situations turn into funnier situations, as the kids make a straight jacket and then Alvin volunteers to be trapped inside his sister's time machine. I liked how Lenore Look was able to turn funny situations into more poignant ones. Alvin got really, truly scared as his sister left him trapped in the box and forgot about him.

"My dad isn't a superhero, but he can pull me out of anything, even from long, tangled boa constrictors that were squeezing the last wheeze out of me.... 'You're my best friend, Dad. You saved my life.' "

This book has more touching moments like these. It isn't full of quite as many laugh-out-loud moments as the first in the series. But it will still make kids happy reading it. It would make a good family read aloud, especially talking about how Alvin learns to be brave during his camping trip.

I really like how Alvin's Chinese-American culture is simply a part of who he is. His favorite meal is vegetable wontons and noodles. His grandfathers are GungGung and YehYeh. His culture is not a pivotal part of the story, it's just part of the texture that makes Alvin feel like a real kid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2010
Good follow up to the first book (Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things) in what I looks like will be a continuing series (Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes). Made great bedtime reading for my 3rd grade son - fun and interesting, but NOT scary or overly suspenseful. Nice illustrations too. My only complaint is that it was a bit short. The characters are all really engaging and likeable, and it would be nice if the book had run them through their paces in some additional situations to flesh the book out a bit more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
Alvin Ho is scared of a lot of things, including girls, birthday parties, and camping. In this story, he seems braver than the other books. Still, it's his fear of every little thing that makes the books funny. Alvin Ho doesn't want to go camping. But Anibelly, his younger sister, wants to go. So he tries to get her to go in his place. When that doesn't work, his older brother orders a bunch of things to make camping better - none of it that works out. This book is a very funny look at the capers that Alvin, his siblings, and his friends go through to explore camping and make it a better experience for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2011
My 5 year old, soon to be 6, loves Alvin Ho. He can relate to Alvin's fear of things. The color of the writing and the fun, humorous situations that Alvin gets in and imagines are fantastic. We ended up buying the other two books my son liked this one so much. I hope the author keeps writing!
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on April 7, 2015
This book is charming in its way, and both of my children (4th and 1st grade) enjoyed it.

However, no one seems to have noted -- no one in this book understands who the heck Batman is. How is this even possible? The father is even ostensibly a superhero aficionado. Yet even he seems to embrace the conceit that Batman has some sort of bat powers -- and Alvin and Calvin Ho take it as a given, due to their uncle's Batman ring.

I do not know a single second grader who does not understand Batman's story. Batman is, of course, a normal guy who has trained his body and mind to the peak of physical and mental perfection. Generations -- literally, four generations -- of kids have taken comfort and drawn bravery from the fact that in a world of Kryptonians and superpowered Amazons and power rings, he is just a guy. Indeed, Alvin Ho especially could have drawn great inspiration from this, in the face of his fears.

It is so strange, in fact, that I would argue that the introduction of this widespread misconception is indeed a Chekhov's Gun: I kept waiting for the father to explain the true nature of Batman to Alvin and his brother, but it never happened.

It beggars credulity that no one in this entire book addresses the seemingly universal misconception by all the characters in this book that Batman has some sort of bat powers. It must be asked: does Lenore Look even understand Batman? Or did she get him confused with Man-Bat, which seems exceedingly unlikely? Or do the Alvin Ho books take place in a parallel universe where Batman does, indeed, have bat powers?

For real, everyone: Batman is just a guy. He does not have bat powers. Come on, Lenore Look.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2014
This was son's first book to read of the series. He loved it. It is a great summer read for boys entering 3rd grade. It is an easy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2014
My younger one understands and relates to these characters. Loves these books and wants all of them and can't wait for new ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2012
My son really enjoys the book. It is a pretty good series and is pretty entertaining. I would recommend for boys 6-8.
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on August 2, 2015
My second grader had been reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid (mostly because his big brother read them when he was younger). He found the first Alvin Ho book (Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things) in his classroom library and immediately loved it. This series is WAY better in his opinion.

Alvin is a delightfully quirky and very smart kid. It is never stated so in the book but I'm wondering if Alvin is ASD. My older son is now reading these books as his little brother finishes them (which he can do in a day because they are below his reading level but he just loves Alvin). Great book for kids with anxiety or ASD or sensory issues or who are just different but true to themselves. It's a brainy series with loads of history and even some Shakespearean cursing. :)
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