November 18, 2012

Young Cam Jansen and the Baseball Mystery

I wrote this review in October, originally planning to make it Day 29 of 31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books. But then that Jon Scieszka book just snuck in there... so I saved this one. Which works out perfectly today, since I'm swamped in unpacking/Thanksgiving prep. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'll have some Thanksgiving picture book recommends for you later this week, and also some results from the oh-so-awesome bookmark survey last week! See you again in a day or two when I surface from beneath these boxes.

The Cam Jansen books came out after my time, but were popular with my youngest brother (who is 12 years younger than I am). They're a series of easy-reader mystery books, geared at children ages 5-8 who are just learning to read on their own.

Cam's real name is Jennifer - but she has a photographic memory. The other kids started calling her "the Camera", and that got shortened to Cam. Cam remembers things by closing her eyes and saying "Click!" to bring back the memory.

Cam and her friend Eric are planning to meet their friends for baseball at the park, but several people are missing. Rachel says, "I had a list of them all, but I left it at school." Everyone tries to remember who was on the list, but then Cam says "Click!" and tells them who's missing.

Later, one kid hits a home run, and the ball vanishes. The children search all over the park, but cannot find the ball until Cam uses her memory to figure out who took the ball.

These books are really cute, and nice little mysteries that invite the reader to use their own memory to figure out things along with Cam. The very first picture in the book has a caption saying, "Look at this picture. Blink your eyes and say "Click." Then turn to the last page of this book." On the last page are questions like "Who is in front, Cam or Eric?" "How many dogs are in the picture?"

Short chapters, big text, and simple words should make Young Cam Jansen and the Baseball Mystery popular with the beginning reader crowd. And, since it's about a girl - but also about baseball - I think it would appeal to both boys and girls. 

Do you know anyone with a photographic memory?

Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommended age: 5-8 

This post was almost part of 31 Days of Awesome Kids' Books.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.