From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up-Charm marks this nostalgic look at girls' sleepaway camps. Pages of uncaptioned vintage photographs accompany glowing first-person remembrances by women who spent girlhood summers making lanyards and lifelong friends. Valuable as an oral and visual history of an experience common to many girls, the book is fun to browse. Though spread over the decades of the 20th century, the reminiscences are remarkably similar, both in terms of the activities recounted and in the personal growth achieved. Over and over, the interviewees recall camp as the place where they learned the value of personal discipline, were encouraged to try new things and set aside inhibitions, and began to realize their full potential. Kahn includes mystery meat, short-sheeted beds, sing-along songs, swimming, horseback riding, color wars, and s'mores, but friendship in an all-girl community is consistently the highlight of the experience here. So luminous are the descriptions that readers must conclude that no camper ever had a truly negative experience. Despite the emotional and visual appeal of Sleepaway, it is dedicated to a niche experience, and will be of limited value to most school libraries. Possibly of help to students seeking examples of oral-history projects, it may also appeal to readers who enjoy juvenile fiction set in camps, such as Kate Klise's Letters from Camp (1999) and Regarding the Fountain (1998, both Avon).
Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Laurie S. Kahn attended Camp Kear-Sarge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for nine years. She also attended the University of Wisconsin before coming to New York to work on Madison Avenue. She now bunks in Noyac, New York.