The latest graphic Summer Camp Science Mystery fills readers in on the ups and downs of acoustics—but not without sounding some sour notes.
A pair of thunderstorms provide opportunities for camp counselors to explain the rule of thumb for approximating lightning’s distance and to reveal the cause of mysterious murmurs heard down by the lake. (They aren’t ghosts but noises carrying across from another camp on the opposite shore.) In between, young campers see how an umbrella can be turned into an amplifier for an old cassette recorder, encounter bats, learn how a sonar fish finder works and make cardboard-tube flutes as another counselor tells an unsourced (Lakota, she claims) legend about the instrument’s invention. Also, in what amounts to a direct tutorial in risky behavior, two children linger at the water’s edge as the second storm rolls in, then flee into the woods in panic until they are lost and plunge blindly into a dark cave for shelter. They are quickly rescued, and a weak joke leaves everyone laughing. Interspersed with explanatory glosses, Torres’ dispensable panels depict bug-eyed figures looking over one another’s shoulders and pointing.
A weak outing in a worthy series, with camp safety plainly playing second fiddle to science instruction. (glossary, recap, experiments) (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 8-10)