What’s worse than being forced to go to summer camp? Monsters at summer camp.
Ben Beederman is an indoors kind of kid, but his outdoorsy parents have decided he needs to get out more, so they’ve sent him to Camp Nature. He’s assigned to Troop D, the one Troops A, B, and C call “Troop Dweeb.” Under the sometimes-sleeping eye of wizened senior troop leader Walter, Ben and his troop mates, video game–addicted Manuel, hypochondriac Asma, and tiny ball of anger Ginger, suffer the slings and (thankfully not literal…yet) arrows of the bullies in the other troops. When Ben finds a moldy old camp handbook that includes information on monster wrangling even as giant footprints start appearing around camp, it’s clear that something’s…afoot. When the troop leaders go missing, it’s up to Troop Dweeb to find them—but there is more to this camp’s history than any camper knows! Cody’s cryptozoological camper caper is a good kickoff for a new series aimed at those newly comfortable with chapters. Plentiful illustrations by Lambe show his roots in television animation, offering just enough Saturday-morning goofiness of a Scooby variety to hook new readers. Characters seem to be white by default, with diversity hinted at in Manuel’s name.
Merit badge No. 2 for Ben and his new friends will arrive soon. (Fantasy. 6-10)