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ALVIN HO by Lenore Look Kirkus Star


Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters

by Lenore Look and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: June 23rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-85705-8
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

The second installment in this series about an effervescent but nerve-wracked second grader will please its fans and appeal to new readers as well. When his father insists on taking him camping, Alvin is quaking in his boots. Sensing his panic, Alvin’s older brother, Calvin, orders hundreds of dollars of survival gadgetry on the Internet with their dad’s emergency credit card (“This way no one has to spend any money,” Calvin explains, “you pay with plastic”). Further support arrives in the form of their uncle’s lessons on trap building, and the inevitable comedy of errors that is the actual camping trip leaves Alvin, his little sister, Anibelly, and their dad in a variety of wild binds. While Look certainly embellishes at times for comedic effect, she has created in Alvin a character that is as real as he is irascible, and the tender relationships among the members of the Ho family provide a sturdy backbone for all the silliness. Pham’s simple but vibrant line drawings leap off the page. Another triumph for Alvin Ho. (Fiction. 7-10)