JELLY BELLY by Robert Kimmel Smith


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Smith's fat-camp entry may be closer to formula than Mane's (above), but in this case that's an advantage: it's also more professionally constructed, with some flow and shape and plot development, and a source of trouble (Grandma's loving calorie-pushing) identified and attacked. Ned Robbins, better known as Jelly Belly, spends the summer before sixth grade at camp Lean-Too, where the sight of the summer's grand winner--for being the biggest (44 pounds) loser--stirs Ned to wistful visions of the future. But Ned is bunked with repeater Richard Napoli, whose parents sneak him fattening food when he's not sneaking his own, snitching from the camp kitchen, or bribing the camp grass-cutter from town. With his ample stash, Richard establishes himself as ringleader of a pig-out pack of bunkmates, none of whom accomplish much losing. Still, Ned learns one thing at camp--he'd better lose weight during the year, because ""you've got to be crazy to come here more than once."" And so, after he returns home, comes the real dieting--and, hardest of all, the confrontation with easily hurt, overindulgent Grandma. With the Grandma angle for substance and Richard contributing forbidden spice, an adequate prescription-filler.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1981
ISBN: 0440442079
Publisher: Delacorte