One of the tricky things about sequels, I think, is getting it right the second time. Writing a book that is just as adorable, just as funny, just as interesting as the first one is not an easy task. And yet, Lenore Look (with much help from LeUyen Pham) does. Alvin is spot-on, hilarious, adorable, fun, sweet, and plain great to read.
This time, Alvin’s dad decides that he hasn’t done a great job of instilling a love of nature in Alvin (spurred by a time-traveling adventure of Alvin’s with Henry David Thoreau), and plans a camping trip. As you can imagine (well, if you haven’t read the first one, you can’t), this does not bode well for Alvin. Camping is bad. There are natural disasters. Bears. Sleeping outside. Germs. Trees. Inside is a good place to be.
And yet, after some wonderful mishaps at school (oh, how the recess camping “game” made me laugh …), Alvin and his little sister, Anibelly, go camping with their dad. After some prepping by older brother Calvin and getting Uncle Dennis’s super-duper awesome Batman ring, Alvin’s still not quite ready… but ends up going anyway. And, well, has an Alvin-tastic time: aliens, thunderstorms, bear traps, and best of all, sleeping out under the stars.
That doesn’t mean it was “fun” for Alvin. For me, though, it was a blast. (Maybe it’s because I didn’t actually go camping.)