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Sara Mastriforte
Boken's Crazy Camping Caper!

After Boken's incredible trip around Spain, it wasn't long before he was off on his next adventure ... camping with his best friend Bounce and their dads. Having never been camping before, Boken is appalled that he will be sleeping outside, rather than curled up on his Mum's squishy tummy. But his thoughts soon turn to a real positive about being in the great outdoors - eating BBQ food, cooked by his BBQ king dad! With his best friend by his side, Boken explores the wonders of the countryside, mesmerised by the new sights and smells that tantalise his senses. He meets wonderful new characters, who teach him about the joys and perils of living in the wild. Is it a camping trip that is all plain sailing? Of course not! There is fun, adventure, intrigue and more than a little danger. Boken learns that it is wise to listen to those with greater experience. A hugely enjoyable book that is full of lighthearted moments, adventure and education. Will Boken go camping again? Probably, but he will need a rest first!

In this delightful continuation of a middle-grade series narrated by a canny canine, Boken is living his best dog life, even when roughing it on a weekend camping trip. (While Boken himself is credited as the author, Sara Mastrifortehelps document the Miniature Schnauzer’s rollicking tales.) Back home in Costa del Sol after traveling through Europe, he’s whisked off to a Spanish national park by his British dad Neil, who brings along military pal Karl and Boken’s best buddy, Bounce. The comfort-loving Boken is baffled by camping, but eager for new experiences, and he bristles when domesticated friends warn him that they’ll encounter wild creatures who could be hostile.

Boken’s exuberant voice pulls young readers into his adventures, which are driven by his overwhelming curiosity and reckless confidence. He laughs at his own jokes with a delighted “teehee,” and rushes headlong into dangerous situations. The greyhound Bounce is his eager companion in mischief, and is not slowed down by the curved blade that functions as his prosthetic front leg. They enjoy their dads’ skill at the grill, and frolic in the wide open world. Surprised by the friendliness of boars and wolves, who accept the dogs into their protective packs, Boken and Bounce are targeted by lone predators: a Spanish imperial eagle and Iberian lynx.

Travel expands this eager dog’s knowledge of the animal world, and Boken’s Crazy Camping Caper focuses on introducing him to Spain’s native wildlife. Embedded in this action-packed outing is a humbling lesson: the impetuous pup frightens his beloved Bounce, which affects him more powerfully than risking his own safety. The lively design by Anna Hancock (who illustrates with Jo Litchfield) makes each page pop with energy, its bold character-defining illustrations bursting with joyous chaos, and text that appears to be Boken’s handwritten scrawl, reflecting a mind bouncing between distraction and comprehension. Boken the dog offers young readers an enthusiastic guide to finding fun everywhere.

Takeaway: Boken shares his canine credo: enjoy family and friends, eat great food, and learn all you can.

Great for fans of: Victoria J. Coe’s Fenway and Hattie, Chris Grabenstein’s Dog Squad, and Carrie Sorosiak’s I, Cosmo.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+