A little girl’s friends and siblings scheme to keep her sleepwalking habit under control in this debut children’s chapter book.
Jennie is finally old enough to go to summer camp, but her mom won’t let her go. She’s afraid Jennie will walk in her sleep, get lost in the woods and be eaten by a bear. However, when the little girl’s sleepwalking habit and talent for painting combine, it attracts the notice of the summer camp’s director and drama teacher, who happen to live in the same apartment building. They convince Jennie’s mother that she will be safe. Meanwhile, Jennie’s siblings and friends, led by an enterprising girl named Trinity (who carries her pet fish’s bowl around with her), formulate plans to keep the sleepwalking Jennie in her cabin at night. Using yarn, duct tape, assorted maracas and “a CD with tranquil nature sounds,” they execute their projects, dubbed “Operation Web,” “Operation Honey Bear,” “Operation Blue Fish” and “Operation Maraca,” which have mixed results. Their adventures eventually involve an unexpected outing for Fin the fish, a game of T-ball and an annoying boy nicknamed “Spaghetti Nose.” Young readers will undoubtedly enjoy spending time with Jennie and friends in this first installment in a series. However, there are some errors in the otherwise clean, readable text, including a few glaring slips: “peaked with curiosity” instead of “piqued” and multiple misspellings of “leeches” as “leaches.” Readers may also find Jennie’s very brief encounter with a denizen of the woods to be an anticlimactic finale.
An enjoyable debut book for intermediate readers, but a stronger edit might have maximized its appeal.