Reviews for Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Summer Vacation


Booklist Reviews 2013 May #1
As threatened in Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit (2012), Charlie Joe's parents make him attend Camp Rituhbukkee (pronounced "read-a-bookie") for three weeks. He thinks the kids there are all nerds, so from day one he decides to turn the other campers into "normal" kids (like himself) who don't always have their noses in books. Right off he irritates the camp leader, Dr. Mal, and knows he must watch himself--sort of. He leads the camp basketball team in a win over Camp Wockajocka; he writes a newspaper opinion column in which he leads campers in a strike; and, on the last day, he skips the final exam to protect another camper from having someone cheat off her. Ultimately, rather than Dr. Mal barring him from ever attending camp again, Charlie Joe becomes a hero. This third book in the series is so very middle school: full of laugh-out-loud humor as well as adolescent drama, growth, and development. A great read for reluctant readers or readers just looking for a little harmless fun. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Charlie Joe Jackson gets involved in extracurricular activities to improve his grades in Extra Credit. In Summer, he goes to a camp for gifted kids (a.k.a. nerds) and tries to remake the campers in his own image. These second and third installments contain some caricatures, but Charlie Joe's middle-school wise-guy voice is entertaining. Black-and-white drawings add humor.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #1
Attending camp, especially an academic enrichment camp, turns out to be more than notorious slacker Charlie Joe Jackson bargained for. Picking up where he left off in Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit (2012), Charlie knows he is in for a miserable time at camp. The water sports and basketball courts are not enough to take the sting out of singing the camp song, "Learning to Love, and Loving to Learn," or the horror of spending whole days with book geeks, reading and writing. Told in Charlie Joe's sarcastic voice, interspersed with letters home to maybe-girlfriend Zoe and others, the tale moves along at breakneck speed. In the first week, the visiting jocks from a neighboring camp come for their yearly romp to find that Charlie Joe has some tricks up his sleeve. When Charlie Joe joins the newspaper staff in the second week, his interpretation of a Lech Walesa biography leads the campers to strike. In the last week, he helps a fellow camper handle a cheating dilemma. Underlying all the action are the inevitable but sweet changes that happen to middle school nerds when they discover the opposite sex. Fans of Joey Pigza and Big Nate will find a lot to love here. Charlie is no longer a caricature but a fully fleshed-out, likable young man. A series that improves with each offering. (Fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 December

Gr 5-7--This entry in the series finds book-eschewing Charlie Joe exactly where Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Extra Credit (Roaring Brook, 2012) left off, with the youngster facing three weeks at Camp Rituhbukkee-pronounced "read-a-book-ee." Instead of fitting in, he plans to save his fellow campers from a life of dorkdom by making them nonreaders, too. But when an award (including a tuition-free return next summer) for the camper who best represents "integrity, community and scholarship" is announced on the first day of camp, it's hardly a spoiler to reveal that Charlie Joe wins. Readers will enjoy seeing how he earns it, in his own way. The episodic plot will hold children's interest, and strong characters lift this series above the norm: Charlie Joe's evolving relationship with best friend Katie reflects their middle-school angst. Adult characters are comical when appropriate but aren't clueless buffoons, often the case in this type of novel. Coovert's cartoon illustrations are appealing but tend to reinforce the text rather than enhance it. Charlie Joe's grudging realization that reading isn't always horrible feels completely in character, carefully written to persuade reluctant readers that he might be right. If they're not convinced, kids with an aversion to books still have a character they can relate to. An ideal choice for summer reading lists.--Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

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