Mitchell thinks he isn’t brave, so an overnight camping trip fills him with worry—and, besides, he doesn't want to celebrate his birthday in the woods.
Decorated with cheerful sketches, each slender volume of the Zigzag Kids series highlights one of the children attending the titular afterschool program. In this fifth installment, Mitchell is the focus, surrounded by the familiar cast of characters. Unfolding in short, crisp sentences, the events come quickly and inspire giggles: The bus breaks down, the tent poles break and underwear spills from packs. The Nature Center is rich with flora, but Mitchell is sure that killer animals are lurking. Mitchell may not be bold, but he likes writing stories, so he imagines a character named Gary Bopper, and when he needs a boost of courage, does his best to assume Gary's bravado. Events reach a zenith for Mitchell when he finds himself alone during the scavenger hunt and comes face-to-face with nature’s wild beasties. Mitchell realizes that his fancy is more frightening than reality, and the frosting on the cake comes by way of a delicious surprise from his friends.
Young readers transitioning to chapter books will find themselves laughing while they empathize. (Fiction. 6-9)