Title: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters
Author: Lenore Look
Pictures: Leuyen Pham
Publisher/Date: Schwartz and Wade Books, c2009.
In case you missed it, my name is Alvin ho. I was born scared and I am still scared. Things that scare me include: [...]
The dark (which mean I have nyctophobia).
The great outdoors. (What’s so great about it?) Lots of things can happen when you’re outdoors:
The end of the world. (1-2)
Alvin Ho is still afraid of… well, everything. He still does not talk at school, climb trees, or sleep with the light off. But when he gets locked in a cardboard box after a magic trick goes horribly wrong, Alvin’s dad decides to take him camping. Just the two of them, alone in the woods, with bears, coyotes, and who knows what else. Needless to say, Alvin is less than thrilled. His older brother Calvin helps him prepare, and so does his Uncle Dennis. But when his little sister Anibelly offers to take his spot, is Alvin saved from the woods?
Fans of the first book need to read Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look. The narration deftly captures the trials of trying to be brave in a world that scares the pants off of you. Alvin Ho continues to get into one scrape after another, with exagerated narration emphasizing the humor found in the smallest things. Like when they take apart the generator to make it work, then put it back together and “when we were done, there were only a handful of tiny thingies that didn’t belong anywhere.” (127) And the step-by-step (by-step-by-step) of instructions on how to put up a tent are definitely told from the kid’s perspective, which I found highly amusing. My mother however, did not find it amusing when I found the need to read it aloud to her, so I think it’s kid-aged version of slapstick comedy. The solution is wonderful, where Alvin relies on a kid just like him to help him save the day, and the triumphant return to civilization is only disturbed by his father’s realization of two things: his kids know how to use his credit card, and he apparently didn’t know what poison ivy looked like.