Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell
Published: Bloomsbury, 2010
Genre: Realistic fiction
Cover Score: A
Overall Grade: A-
Thirteen year old Gen Welsh was looking forward to having a normal, relaxing, summer--that is, until her mom signs their family up for "family frontier camp". Now, instead of hanging by the pool, Gen is reluctantly stuck in a camp that reenacts pioneer life in 1890--right down to milking cows and wearing sunbonnets. Farm life is harder than she expects: not only is her family failing the frontier competition, but a real life "Nellie Olson" is threatening to steal Gen's newfound crush, Caleb, who's at camp, too. Using a contraband cell phone, Gen relays all of her camp experiences to her friends at home. But when they turn her texts into the most popular blog on the Internet, Gen's beginning to enjoy camp...so what if she gets caught?
My thoughts: The thing that I loved most about this book was how fresh and creative it was--from the witty title right down to the unique plot line. Before reading this book, I had never heard of "family frontier camp", but it sure made a great premise for a book!
Gen was so funny--and even though she could sometimes be whiny, she always had something clever to say about the crazy situations Camp Frontier put her in. There was lots of comic relief in this book: imagine a reluctant city girl plunked down into 1890. The scenes that involved sharing a room with her whole family, milking a cow, visiting an outhouse, wearing bulky pioneer clothes, and eating endless beans and grits had me cracking up out loud: it was absolutely hilarious! I also loved the modern twist of the blog added into the plot. It brought more entertainment and excitement and moved the story along.
The book rolled along smoothly and quickly (although a bit boring in places), and Ms. Bell didn't waste words. She described every situation so vividly that I could picture them.
However, I still wish that Caleb's character could be better developed. I just felt like I didn't know all that much about him.
I hope to see more of Gen in the future--perfect for middle grade readers, Little Blog on the Prairie doesn't disappoint.