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Title: Church Camp Chaos (Diary of a Real Payne, Book 2) | Author: Annie Tipton | Publication Date: March 1, 2014 | Publisher: Barbour Books | Pages: 195 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: In this second fabulous release in the Diary of a Real Payne series for 8- to 12-year-old girls, young readers will find themselves ROTFL as EJ is more than ready to be done with Ms. “Picky” Pickerington, CoraLee McCallister, and fourth grade in general. Hello sunshine, hello 11th birthday party, hello free time, hello. . .CAMP! It’s EJ’s first summer to spend an entire week at Camp Christian: friends, swimming, bunk beds, games, campfires, s’mores, hiking, and even a gigantic zip line. In classic EJ form, she dreams up even more fantastic adventures for herself. It’s colossal fun and Church Camp Chaos for EJ fans!
My Thoughts: Church Camp Chaos is the second book in the Diary of a Real Payne book series for tweens, featuring the highly imaginative 10-year-old (but turning 11 in this book), Emma Jean or EJ Payne. The story features a combination of diary entries by EJ which help set the stage for what will happen in the chapter followed by the story told by a narrator. Each chapter centres around a specific event such as EJ’s birthday party, the first day of summer camp, or the day the younger kids come to camp. The result is an absolutely delightful, funny, and highly imaginative series of connected stories that give us a glimpse into a tween girl’s mind.
I absolutely adored EJ as a main character. I could totally see my daughter in her with the interactions she has with her best friend, with the feelings she has toward CoraLee (the girl whom she doesn’t have a good relationship with but who ends up surprising her), and the way she daydreams and constructs these highly imaginative scenarios out of the most mundane moments of her life. I would say, if nothing else, EJ felt completely REAL. I would put her in the same circle as Clementine, Judy Moody, and Ramona Quimby ~ typical tween girls.
The storytelling in this book is absolutely stellar. I love how the author uses the combination of diary entries, narration, and the italicized sections representing EJ’s imagination. The diary entries felt completely authentic and reading about EJ’s daydreaming was an absolute hoot! In particular, I was laughing out loud at the part where EJ and her brother were in opposing bumper boats pretending to be pirates. It was so well done and these passages can really help encourage imaginative play in children (even when they are tweens!) There was also a section where EJ imagines she is on the reality show, Survivor. It was just so clever! Loved it!
I also wanted to comment on two issues in particular. I really appreciated how the author handled EJ’s rival in the story, CoraLee. Instead of only painting her as a “mean girl”, the author was careful to write about CoraLee in such a way that she even succeeded in surprising EJ. For example, EJ didn’t think CoraLee would touch the snake, but she ended up draping her around her shoulders. She also did a few other things that EJ didn’t expect so the result was that EJ began to see CoraLee in a different light. I liked how the author introduced shades of grey with the development of CoraLee’s character and did not keep her as the one-dimensional, stereotypical “mean girl” (I’m not a big fan of labels!).
The other thing worth mentioning is that this book is a Christian fiction title, but it is not remotely heavy-handed. There are a few mentions of praying; sharing of simple Christians values; and a few passages from the Bible are quoted , but they were gently and appropriately introduced. I thought that, as far as Christian fiction goes, it was very well done.
My Bottom Line: Church Camp Chaos is a delightfully funny look into the highly imaginative workings of a tween girl, EJ Payne. The book cleverly uses a combination of diary entries, narration, and hilarious passages peeking into EJ’s daydreams. The story is originally clever and, at times, very poignant. I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic book and I highly recommend this series to young girls in particular between the ages of 8 and 12 who also love Clementine, Judy Moody, and Ramona Quimby.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in MDBR’s Book Promotion services*
More Buzz About the Book
“Curly, my 8-year-old bookworm, loved this book. The day it arrived in the mail I let her look through it. By that evening she brought the book to me to thank me and tell me she was finished. She read the entire book in one day and I don’t think she ever put it down! She enjoyed EJ’s adventures and the fun times she had at church camp. She told me the book was “funny.” I appreciated the way the book treated family relationships and showed a loving family who works together and endures different situations together. EJ and her brother don’t always get along but their parents encourage them to be kind and EJ grows to appreciate her brother and even his slightly obnoxious attempts at humor. I enjoyed the life lessons that EJ learned about trust, faith, and friendship and am glad that I can find books for my daughter to read that are humorous and fun while still promoting good values.” ~ 5 Star Review, Lextin Academy, Amazon
“I really liked Diary of a Real Payne: Church Camp Chaos, and thought that it was just as good as the first book! My favorite part was when EJ received her mom’s letter at camp, explaining the reason why she and Dad were behaving a bit suspiciously. It’s really cool how it all unfolds together, making you think, “Oh, now I get why that happened!” It is a super great book and I can’t wait to read the next! Church Camp Chaos is awesome and I love it. Hip hip hooray for EJ!” ~ 5 Star Review, Our Homeschool Reviews, Amazon
About the Author
Award-winning author Annie Tipton made up her first story at the ripe old age of two when she asked her mom to write it down for her. (Hey, she was just two—she didn’t know how to make letters yet!) Since then she has read and written many words as a student, newspaper reporter, author, and editor. A native of Wooster, Ohio, Tipton received a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Milligan College in Northeast Tennessee. She currently resides in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
* Giveaway *
Prize: There will be one winner who will receive signed, print copies of the first TWO books in the Diary of a Real Payne book series by Annie Tipton (True Story & Church Camp Chaos) + a $10 Amazon gift card.
Contest runs: April 6, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: United States only
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Barbour Books and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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