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September 2, 2008

The Cookcamp

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The Cookcamp

Author: Gary Paulsen

Page Length: 115

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: America is in the throes of World War II and the boy’s father is away fighting in the war. His mother works at a factory and has been spending time with “Uncle Casey,” a strange man who has taken away his mother’s attention. One night the boy hears strange noises coming from the Casey and his mother. The boy is then sent to live with his grandmother. His grandmother serves as a cook for a camp of men laying new roads. The boy learns much from the big men. His grandmother loves him dearly and is always there when he is missing his mother and upset about Uncle Casey. Will the boy ever see his father again? Does his mother still love him?

REVIEW: This book is a beautiful, touching story of the realities of life for a child caught up in the drama and pain of WWII. Paulsen does a beautiful job of creating a wonderful grandparent with whom the boy learns much about love and life from. Any reader with a grandparent they were attached to as a child can connect to this story. The perspective of the little boy, shown in his ignorance and innocence, are wonderfully portrayed. A wonderful, fictional look at a pivotal time in history.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: main idea, predictions, summary, conclusions, connecting text to self, connection text to history, emotional appeal, imagery

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: the implied sexual activity of mother and Uncle Casey

RELATED BOOKS: Hatchet, The Cookcamp, Dogsong, Canyons, The River, The Crossing, The Foxman, Soldier’s Heart


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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