Letters written home from a futuristic camp record big doings.
Bold animation-style illustrations bring Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. and its Gadgets Galore Competition to life. One camper nicknamed Professor von Junk “gets an idea for a gadget so clever / that everyone wants to help put it together.” Everyone, that is, except the letter writer, who thinks “helping is nice, but I want to come up / with my own cool device.” Once the competition begins, the protagonist can’t even get into the crowded lab. Discouraged but resilient, the kid creates a separate lab and develops an invention that, sadly, seems only to work in reverse. But Professor von Junk’s invention has a major flaw, too, creating chaos. Luckily, the letter writer’s invention saves the day. On the final page, the victor is honored with the name Professor O’Toole. Readers might notice O’Toole’s stylized pigtails, but only by reading the jacket flap will readers confirm the narrator is a female named Trixie (O’Toole). Is this a subtle book about girl power? In the future, could scientific ability be viewed without regard to gender? Perhaps, but this story has only one other implied female camper (a ponytailed kid named Lovelace) plus stereotypical references to Trixie’s “cute little cabin” and glitter-decorated invention. Bafflingly, the rhyming text is not consistently set as such. All the campers are green humanoid children.
An action-packed story for young inventors with troubling gender treatment. (Picture book. 5-8)