CAMP FOSSIL EYES by Mark Abley

CAMP FOSSIL EYES

Digging for the Origins of Words
by and illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifteen-year-old Jill Boswell and her 13-year-old brother, Alex, are sent off to camp in the badlands of (presumably) Alberta, while their parents move across the continent to start new jobs. Jill hates Camp Fossil Eyes, but Alex loves it, and the story is told through their e-mails home, interspersed with lessons on word origins from the camp’s director, Dr. Murray. It turns out that in the badlands words have taken on physical, fossilized shapes, and campers go out each day to dig them up and offer readers lessons on the words’ origins. It’s a silly premise that becomes tiresome. Abley might have taken his readers more seriously and simply created a whole volume of Dr. Murray’s more straightforward lessons and foregone the contrivance of fossilized words. Adams’s cartoonish color illustrations appear on most pages to break up the text and add a light touch, but they can’t save a misdirected effort that could have been better. (glossary, further reading, selected sources, index) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55451-181-5
Page count: 136pp
Publisher: Annick Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2009