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Review: Camp X by Eric Walters

Camp X

When their father went off to war, George, Jack and their mother, Mrs. Braun, moved to Whitby Ontario.  After all, there was no way they could run the farm without him.  Mrs. Braun took a job in the huge local munitions factory and, in the summer vacation of 1943, there was no one to take care of the boys.

But Jack, fourteen, did his best to care for George who was just a few weeks shy of twelve.  Together they delivered papers, played war in the woods, explored the area, and went floating down a little creek.  But something did not seem quite right.  What was on the other side of the culvert?  What were the men doing on the bridge?  Why were they speaking German?  Were they Nazis?

Wherever George and Jack turned, the mystery grew deeper.  Something was going on, and Mr. Krum, owner of the newspaper they delivered, knew about it.  He explained to George how reporters discovered information but warned the boys to stay away from the mysterious area.

Of course, with the possibility of Nazi agents being involved in the mystery, the boys had to make sure everything was OK.  They went back…and got involved in something they could never have imagined.

This fast-paced story is based on Camp X, the top-secret spy camp located on the shores of Lake Ontario.  Although it is written for young people, it is so full of carefully researched details that it fascinated me as well.

The entire book is a page-turner, but the violence becomes very intense at one point.  A sensitive child would not be able to deal with it, nor would one with a good imagination.  Therefore the age designation 8-12 may be inappropriate.

Negatives:  Jack is overbearing and extremely bossy to his brother.  As the boys explain to their mom and to Mr. Krum, it is just the way brothers behave, but the manipulation and intimidation are a bit much.  However, when the situation warrants, the boys do stick together.  What is worse than this is that they deceive their mother, over and over.  I suppose that is what spies need to do, but that does not make it right.

Positives:  The brothers are patriotic, try to do right most of the time, and neither blaspheme nor use foul language.

Our family’s opinion:  Camp X is exciting and a lot of fun, and both Miss 13 and Miss 16 enjoyed it as much as I did.  I recommend it, but not for children aged 8-12.

Camp X is the first in the Camp X books, a series of spy books for children based on the real Camp X in Canada during the World War 2.  This series by Eric Walters should be available in most Canadian libraries and probably in large US libraries as well, and can also be bought from online retailers in both Canada and the US.

Camp X by Eric Walters is one of the novels we use in our multi-year, literature-based Canadian History course.

Thanks to Cindy for mentioning this series to me.

This is yet another book in the in the 2014 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is also linked to Saturday Reviews

Disclosure: We borrowed this book from our library and are not compensated for this review in any way.

2 Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    This will go on my list of books for my early teenager.

    I’m looking for books about World War I suitable for younger children (5 and 7) so easier chapter books. There seem to be fewer around than for the Second World War. Any suggestions?

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You are right. World War 1 books for younger children can be very hard to find, and off-hand, I cannot think of any. If you do find any good ones, please let me know.

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