Cover Image: The Secret of Shadow Lake (Creature Campers Book 1)

The Secret of Shadow Lake (Creature Campers Book 1)

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Member Reviews

This is a fun story about going to camp.

Norm is nervous about going to camp for the first time. That’s because he is a Big Foot and he doesn’t know what to expect there. The camp accepts all different kinds of creatures, including big foots, jackalopes, and humans. Norm and his new friends end up having fun, and discovering a secret in the lake at camp. There was also a classic villain who wanted to catch Norm. He was an old man who kept foiling his own plot.

This story reminded me of the Lumberjanes because of the different camp creatures. It also reminded me of the Christmas series by Matt Haig because of how Norm learned to fit in with other creatures who were not like him.

I really enjoyed this cute camp story.

Thank you Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a wonderful little story about Camp Moonlight and all the magical creatures that attend along with one human boy. It's a fun story and the various characters are all the ones you might have read about in the various fantasy and fairytale stories you read as a child. There is a bigfoot family, a fairy, a jackalope and more. They all arrive at camp some more nervous than others. They are thrown right into camp activities such as canoeing. It was amusing to see a bigfoot, Norm, trying to stay afloat in a canoe with a human boy. They finally figure it out and eventually meet up with a friendly lake monster. Throw in an evil, rich, guy who wants to add a bigfoot to his collection of interesting creatures and you have a fun adventure. This is a beginning chapter book with wonderful illustrations. None of the creatures look scary at all and my 3 year old grandchild loved this story, especially because she loves monsters. It is a story about trying new things, working together, helping each other and friendship. We read this one over a few sittings and when I finished, both grandchildren requested that I read it again. I definitely recommend this one to family, classroom, school and public libraries. This is a new series of books called "epic originals" and I look forward to seeing more in the Creature Campers line.
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I'm pretty accepting of oddities in a story. I consider myself pretty generous with my willing suspension of disbelief. This book tested that willingness. Even within the internal logic of the story there were things that didn't make sense to me, plot elements that seemed to only happen to conveniently move the plot along. I could be more forgiving of that if the villain storyline made more sense. His motivation is clear but his defeat is more the result of happenstance than real effort. Reminiscent of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Norm and his friends don't even realize they are under threat. So while this is cute and might entertain a young reader I doubt it will hold up to repeat readings.
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I had a great time reading Secret of Shadow Lake. Seeing two people from different worlds come together was kind of cool. They both had problems, yet they had to find a way to get along in this wacky summer camp. When they met some of their bunk mates it was clear this was not going to be an easy experience for either of them. Unbeknownst to Norm he also had a hunter doing everything he can to capture him. If you are looking for something fun and exciting to read then this is a book you might want to check out.
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I loved this, and so did my children! I will most certainly buy them the entire series! Fun and colorful! A total delight!
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I  received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

I honestly have no idea what I thought this book would be, but it definitely exceeded all of my expectations! The illustrations are adorable! I definitely wish it was longer, it was so good!

Imagine a summer camp for all the misfits: fairies, jackalope, Bigfoot, gnomes, aliens and a lone human. Now picture a rare creature collector trying to capture the kids while boating!  Love it!

Good lord, I hope this is a series!
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Review to come at the end of September.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

I was instantly interested when I spotted this book on Netgalley. A book about camping? With creatures (and a human)? With fun illustrations? Sure, I had to try it out.

And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised however I was also a bit rolling my eyes at the villain. I just wasn't that interested in the guy. I wanted to see more of the kids trying to canoe and get their certification for canoeing and then also the lake monster! I wanted to see if it was just that bad guy and if there was no lake monster or if there was truly a Nessie somewhere waiting for its moment to shine. 

I loved the fact that there was such a big variety of creatures though we only see those that are in Norm's bunk, which was a bit of a shame, hopefully in the next book we get to see more creatures and have other adventures. I had a big laugh when it turns out there was a human in the mix and that he was the only one (poor Oliver). 

Norm was a pretty great character though I did feel sorry that he had such a growth spurt which didn't make things easy for him. His home was too small (which seemed odd to me given that those parents should know that big foot (feet?) can get quite big), the camp and the canoes were definitely also not meant for his size. I liked that he was trying to make the best of it, and also have a fun time at the camp. Making new friends, canoeing.

As I said the villain was just not for me. Too silly, too over the top, and how didn't they know he was a baddie given how he acted surprised me. He is a reason why I rated the book lower. I don't mind a small introduction to the character, but I don't need more than that. 

The art was fabulous though, that is what kept me reading when the story got a bit boring (there is a limit to how much I want to read about one activity) or the villain raised his moustached head. The style is just so fun and I definitely want to see if I can find more from this illustrator.

All in all, still a fun book with a magical camp, canoeing, lake monsters, and more.
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A big thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel  Publishing for the ARC. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. This is a children's book. What a crazy fun book!  I enjoyed reading this. The graphics were hilarious.  I think early middle schoolers will like this 2-5 grade.  I could of course be off on the grades.  4 stars.
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This was a fun book that I enjoyed with my daughter. It had some laugh out loud moments and some silly antics. It was fun for the younger kids.
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Ginormous Strider “Norm” is a Bigfoot.  His father is sending him to Camp Moonlight but Norm does not want to go. He’s worried that he won’t fit with his size and all. He complains about his long limbs and his hirsute body.  But his father assuages his concerns assures him that he’s normal seeing as “he’s a Bigfoot and not a smallfoot”.

At the camp, they meet a the camp director who’s a grump gnome named Furrow Grumplestick. Just then another camper approaches them—a human named Oliver Fitzpatrick.

Unbeknownst to Norm, he’s being watched by a stranger—his name is Barnaby Snoop and he’s a world-famous collector of rare creatures. He’s plotting to add a Bigfoot to his collection

Furrow then proceeds to take them on a tour of the camp. When they finally reached the dining hall, they run into an alien-looking creature with three fingers. She introduces herself to them as Zeena Morf, the counselor. 

She leads the group to her cabin and introduces them to the other campmates: Hazel, a brown rabbit with long antlers that talks faster than she runs. According to Hazel, she’s a Jackalope—part jack rabbit, part antelope. She even thinks she might be part raccoon. There’s Wisp, a boy with pointy ears and uneven wings.

On their first day at camp, Zeena is going to teach them canoe skills in Shadow Lake.🛶 Meanwhile, Barnaby has been stalking them in his submarine. While paddling across the lake, Norm sights a Barnaby and thinking his boat is capsizing, they throw his their life preserver and tell him to hang on.  

While trying to rescue the man from his boat they get sidetracked by a monster stuck in a net. Momentarily they forget they were supposed to save the man, and instead tried to untangle the sea creature from the net. 

A fun story accompanied by beautiful illustrations. Overall, a good read and I would recommend to kids.

Thank you to Joe McGee, NetGalley, and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
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This was something very different. Unusual or should I say funusual? Haha. Inside joke. The characters are really fun to get to to know and each have their own quirks and personalities. The illustrations are engaging and will capture your imagination. Loved reading this.
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A Cheerful Early Chapter Book

This book touches all of the bases in a cheerfully antic fashion.

We have four mismatched creature campers, who learn to work together as a team and form an engaging friendship. Each kid camper arrives at camp with a mild problem, and each grows up a bit during the course of the adventure. Just to round things out there's a Snidely Whiplash sort of bad guy trying to trap kid creatures, and there's a friendly lake monster.

The scenes involving these four goofs trying to learn how to enter and paddle a canoe are amusing and high energy. Their rescue of the lake monster is suitably gripping for an early chapter book.

Vocabulary seems appropriate and all of the jokes and amusing asides are kid friendly. There's nothing edgy going on, and the author plays it straight with the conventions of a book like this. Actually, the camp director gets in a few deadpan lines here and there, so there is a bit to interest an older reader or a parent doing some bedtime reading-to.

The illustrations are colorful and inviting and complement the text, and the action, nicely. There's something drawn on almost every page, and the look is inviting.

So, this struck me as a fine book for a younger, newly independent, reader. (Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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My son loved this book! The artwork and characters are great. My son was totally engaged with the story.
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This is an attractive short novel, well presented for the under-tens, but one that contains little in the way of depth or surprise.  Take a Bigfoot, a human child, a fairy and a jackalope, and put them in a summer camp for canoe exercises.  Then put them on a lake where there is a legend – only a legend, mind – of a monster within it.  Then add an evil adult human with designs on completing his collection of creatures, with not the non-existent monster but the Bigfoot.  Problems are that we're with the little Bigfoot at the start, but it soon becomes an ensemble piece, and what empathy and liking for the character is a little lost; the jackalope speaks nineteen to the dozen, which is all very well but if you can't read nineteen to the dozen the effect is kind of wasted; and that things are just too predictable.  But that does kind of have to go out the window if you've read few books, and perhaps are a reluctant reader.  In that instance, this is worth considering – the design is great, with the artist really nailing some images – certainly the Bigfoot suffering from lack of sleep must look like the real thing.  And there is also humour to be had here and there, not so much from the main characters, but the camp director has a vivid cameo or three.  I see few people saying they love this, unless to repeat they're seldom known for choosing their own reading material, but it will serve as an entertainment for a while, and on that basis I'll nudge this up to four stars.
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I loved it! It's super fun and the characters are just awesome. This is a story that will make you smile from start to finish and you definitely won't regret buying it. Also the illustrations are really good and are a great help to envision the whole story, so I'm sure the kids will love them. As for the characters personalities, they were all so different and that never made a single one of them boring. You get a bigfood, human, fairy, jackalope and amongs others also a friendly lake monster. Mind you I also liked the villain of the story. Everything just fit and I had a great time reading about these characters adventure. Just a fun short and magical story.
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A likable book for young readers, recommended for classroom and school library use.  Joe McGee writes well and composes a story that will inspire interest.
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