Bad Kitty Camp Daze

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Bad Kitty Camp Daze Book Poster Image
Silly identity mix-up reveals sweet lesson on getting along.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Two-page spreads explain distinctive characteristics of dogs and cats: why many dogs love to play fetch with people and cats don't, why cats hate to get wet, how dogs swim (and why to be careful with a dog in water), how catnip affects cats. Depicts Egyptian goddess Bastet.

Positive Messages

Appreciate different skills and strengths. Take pride in who you are and appreciate your heritage. Look out for each other. Choose to focus on what brings people together rather than fight over what divides them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kitty rises to the occasion when the situation is most desperate. Canine campers take initiative to solve a problem. Uncle Murray doesn't think much of cats but looks out for Kitty. He's touched by the ways his campers helped one another and speaks to them of kindness and solidarity ("United we stand! Divided we fall!").

Violence & Scariness

Kitty angrily kicks her food dish and it ricochets to hit her head, and she's repeatedly hit in the head trying to fetch bones. Kitty attacks a threatening bear.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Kitty Camp Daze uses a goofy case of mistaken identity to explore how cats and dogs are different and share a message about appreciating and looking out for one another. The cranky feline star of Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty series gets bonked on the head (many, many times) and starts to think she's a dog, setting up funny scenarios playing off the distinctive traits of dogs and cats. Kitty finds catnip and has a vision of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess and protector of cats.

User Reviews

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Kid, 7 years old May 21, 2018

Good book.

It's a good book for friends and family!!!

What's the story?

Kitty's already having a frustrating day when she accidentally bonks her head in BAD KITTY CAMP DAZE. She forgets she's a cat and starts acting like a dog, stressing Puppy out so much that he gets sent to Uncle Murray's dog camp to relax -- and she tags along. Campers play fetch, swim, and go hiking, and Kitty tries to keep up with the canines. Catnip leads to a vision of Bastet, the Egyptian goddess and protector of cats, reminding her who she is: "Say it loud! Say it proud!" When Kitty and Uncle Murray get lost in the woods and come face to face with a bear, only a clawed hunter cat can save them -- and then it takes a pack of sniffing dogs to find them in the woods and lead them home.

Is it any good?

In a time of partisan bickering and political tension, Nick Bruel finds a way to make kids laugh while showing them that it can be "beautiful" when two sides come together and find common ground. Bad Kitty Camp Daze takes a rather convoluted path to set up its mistaken-identity premise, but the story -- and giggles -- pick up once Kitty and Puppy get to camp. Bruel's artwork hums with nonstop energy, and he gives each of the dogs a distinctively funny personality. The fish-out-of-water (or cat-out-of-water?) setup serves up pages of laughs, but kids who pause to take in the "fun facts" spreads will learn a few things along the way (for example, anise can affect dogs like catnip does cats).

As always, Bruel masterfully weaves in substantive messages without dampening the comedy. Uncle Murray is warm and sincere as he tries to bring Kitty and the dogs together. Kids are drawn to this series for the laughs, but they stay because it has heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Uncle Murray's message about finding what brings us together in Bad Kitty Camp Daze. Think of someone with whom you don't get along. What do you have in common? How could you look out for each other?

  • Is it hard to find good things to appreciate about people you don't particularly like?

  • What did you learn about cats and dogs?

Book details

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