Summer camp can be a wonderful experience especially for the camper's parents, who are free to enjoy a few blissfully peaceful weeks at home. For the camper, though, this summer ritual isn't always a fun-filled romp in the great outdoors, especially if homesickness sets in.
Television writer Alan Sherman immortalized the lows (and highs) of summer camp in 1963 with his comedy song "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," the hilarious ode of a reluctant camper set to the tune of Ponchielli's classical "Dance of the Hours." A hit record more than 40 years ago, the song has now been adapted into a picture book that captures all the wit and homesick angst of Sherman's classic parody.
Constructed as a letter home from a weary young camper, the book reveals that life at Camp Granada isn't quite what our narrator had hoped. First, there's the never-ending rain, then the alligator-infested lake and the bullying tactics of the head coach. As our camper tells it, his buddies have it even worse than he does one has poison ivy, while another has ptomaine poisoning from the camp food. Lest parents fear that Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah will scare the daylights out of prospective campers, we'll reveal that things soon take a turn for the better at Camp Granada. ("Wait a minute/it stopped hailing/guys are swimming/guys are sailing!")Rich and imaginative illustrations by Jack E. Davis bring Sherman's lyrics to life and add a new dimension to this familiar tale. In one scene a family of ducks makes its way through the rain-soaked campgrounds; in another a huge grasshopper feasts on the cookie of an unsuspecting camper. The wide-eyed, snaggled-tooth narrator seems befuddled by it all.
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah is a comical delight for counselors, campers and siblings and a nostalgic treat for parents who remember the song on which it is based. Lynn Green's son, William, is finishing up two weeks at Camp Rockmont and he still hasn't written a letter home.