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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters    by Lenore Look & LeUyen Pham order for
Alvin Ho
by Lenore Look
Order:  USA  Can
Schwartz & Wade, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The author (Lenore Look) and illustrator (LeUyen Pham) of Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things now return with a Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters, second in this delightful chapter book series.

Alvin is a tremendously fearful ('born scared') - and highly imaginative - Asian-American second grader, an engaging combination that leads to hilarious misadventures. Alvin has an older brother, Calvin who goes to karate classes, and a younger sister, Anibelly who follows Alvin everywhere. Alvin admires Henry David Thoreau (a dead author and his school's hero).

Alvin's uncle Dennis sends him a Houdini in a Box kit, which results in his being tied up, terrified, and channeling Henry David Thoreau. When his dad releases him, he decides to take Alvin camping, to give him confidence. Of course, a fearful Alvin applies himself to imagining everything that can go wrong - and (with Calvin's help and their dad's credit card) orders all kinds of expensive equipment from, in order to be prepared.

The night before the trip, Alvin eats a Last Supper and writes his Last Will and Testament. Then he, his dad and Anibelly go camping. They face a thunderstorm and famine (dad left the food behind) - but Alvin makes a new friend who's just as fearful as he is. They build traps together, but what they catch is not a happy camper - and they need to really gather their courage to fix things.

What does Avin learn from his camping experince? That 'A hero is someone who is willing to be scared', and that his dad really should have used toilet paper and not poison ivy! Take Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters on your next camping trip - it's great fun, and is full of handy survival tips.

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