I was instantly interested when I spotted this book on Netgalley. A book about camping? With creatures (and a human)? With fun illustrations? Sure, I had to try it out.
And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised however I was also a bit rolling my eyes at the villain. I just wasn’t that interested in the guy. I wanted to see more of the kids trying to canoe and get their certification for canoeing and then also the lake monster! I wanted to see if it was just that bad guy and if there was no lake monster or if there was truly a Nessie somewhere waiting for its moment to shine.
I loved the fact that there was such a big variety of creatures though we only see those that are in Norm’s bunk, which was a bit of a shame, hopefully in the next book we get to see more creatures and have other adventures. I had a big laugh when it turns out there was a human in the mix and that he was the only one (poor Oliver).
Norm was a pretty great character though I did feel sorry that he had such a growth spurt which didn’t make things easy for him. His home was too small (which seemed odd to me given that those parents should know that big foot (feet?) can get quite big), the camp and the canoes were definitely also not meant for his size. I liked that he was trying to make the best of it, and also have a fun time at the camp. Making new friends, canoeing.
As I said the villain was just not for me. Too silly, too over the top, and how didn’t they know he was a baddie given how he acted surprised me. He is a reason why I rated the book lower. I don’t mind a small introduction to the character, but I don’t need more than that.
The art was fabulous though, that is what kept me reading when the story got a bit boring (there is a limit to how much I want to read about one activity) or the villain raised his moustached head. The style is just so fun and I definitely want to see if I can find more from this illustrator.
All in all, still a fun book with a magical camp, canoeing, lake monsters, and more.