Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown
written by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Lunch Lady and her loyal assistant Betty find themselves in hot water when their summer camp job is interrupted by the arrival of an evil swamp monster. They know that there can’t really be such a monster, but finding out who is behind the attacks will require some detective work. Many of the counselors seem to have a reason for causing mischief, so any one of them could be responsible. If Lunch Lady and Betty don’t find the culprit soon, then the whole camp will be shut down!
In his fourth Lunch Lady adventure, Krosoczka shows the same flare for inventiveness and silly humor that made the first three stories so enjoyable. The Lunch Lady and Betty use a host of school lunchroom inventions: fish stick nunchucks, lollipop magnifying glass, hamburger headphones, underwater bendy-straw breathing apparatus, and more. Lunchroom related humor is sprinkled throughout the book—“Tonight we’re Salisbury-staking out the pond!” Beyond Lunch Lady’s James Bond-like presence, the kids from her school offer a tween perspective on the relative merits of summer camp. Sure, there’s camping out, smores, and swimming in the lake, but there’s also having to bunk with a bully and trying to survive the camp dance. The kids are not the stars of Krosoczka’s series, but they offer a realistic balance to the Lunch Lady’s crazy investigations and even help sometimes.
Krosoczka’s art is deceptively simple. He uses thin lines sparingly to sketch out his characters, but each of them is unique and imbued with their own personalities. The settings are effectively drawn to set the scenes, but the backgrounds never provide too much detail, keeping them from overwhelming the players. Like graphic novel series Babymouse (which uses pink) and Kit Feeney (which uses orange), the Lunch Lady series is presented in black, white, and gray with one highlighting color, in this case yellow. The yellow is always used as a highlight and is carefully shaded so as not to overwhelm readers’ eyes. Though this is the fourth book, readers who aren’t already familiar with the series should have no trouble enjoying the fast-paced action and fans of Lunch Lady’s previous adventures will enjoy seeing how she spent her summer vacation.