Max’s response to his mother’s attempts to convince him to take a bath is to consistently make it clear that there were “no baths at camp,” where everything was fun; his question is, why are they required at home? Rock climbing, drama (even when ending with the campers covered in face paint), campfires, canoeing, art, music, and Israeli dance do not require baths afterwards, even when the campers get full of dirt. Only before sundown on Friday is it mandatory for everyone to take a shower. Max makes his mother fully aware of all the wonderful activities he does in camp, bringing home the sense of enjoyment his summer adventures bring. The rich Shabbat experience in camp is described in great detail, from Kiddush on Friday night through Havdalah on the lake at the end of Shabbat. Illustrations are age appropriate; their feeling is as whimsical as the story, and wholly appropriate to the tone and spirit of the book. They fill the horizontal pages with green and brown colors representing the outdoors. The illustrations very clearly show alternative ways in which the camp makes sure that the campers stay clean, using hoses, swimming, and passing around hand sanitizer after the campfire. Jewish content is positive and culturally re-enforcing for the campers. This is a light-hearted, amusing, and recommended story which would be perfect as a read-to for preschoolers or as an independent read for ages 6 – 8.
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Specialist’s Certificate in information science. She is the library director and media specialist at the Moriah School in Englewood, NJ.