This past summer, the Biff Bam Pop! Princess went to overnight camp for the first time, doing something that me, her dad, could never muster the courage to do. Honestly, I like my creature comforts like air conditioning and my own bedroom, and being away from home for too long never really appealed to me. The Princess, though, she loved overnight camp. She was there with some of her good friends, and made some new ones in the process.
When our friends at Top Shelf Productions let us know they had a new book coming out about camp, I thought it would be a good read for the Princess, and she agreed, which is how she wound up reading Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons, written and illustrated by Jonathan Schnapp.
Here’s the description: Frank is perhaps the most un-bear-like bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. Actually, he’s probably the ONLY bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. And there are tons of bugs, he’s getting picked on, and he can’t seem to earn a single badge! But there’s Ricky, an excitable little raccoon who shares Frank’s love of Mega Bunny comics. But Ricky’s friendship might be more than Frank can handle. After breaking camp rules, getting lost in the woods, and discovering ancient secrets about the long-forgotten Order of the Night Jay, how will Frank explain all this to his dad?
Here’s the funny thing about the Princess – sometimes she just outright surprises me, which was the case when about an hour after she went into her room to read Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons, she walked right out and declared:
I was shocked, she never reads anything that quickly.
“What do you mean you’re done?? Did you actually read it!”
“Yes,” she told me. “It was fun and I read it all the way through.”
Having just come back from her overnight camp experience, I thought she’d enjoy the book, but I truly didn’t expect her to blitz it.
“Well, ok,” I said. “That’s impressive. Did you like it?”
“Of course I did!” the Princess said with conviction. “It had camping and animals, what’s not to like?!”
She’s 12 and she has a point. Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons is instantly engaging, designed for young readers that may sometimes be hesitant to crack open any sort of book. The Princess is a huge manga fan, and these days those are typically the sorts of comics she devours. The fact that Jonathan Schnapp’s new book, the first in a planned graphic novel trilogy, managed to keep the Princess reading say a lot about its accesibility and fun nature. Plus, it just looks good!
“What did you think of the art?” I asked the Princess.
“It’s great! The animals are cute!”
And with that, she was off.