Review Blog

Jan 07 2017

Nathalia Buttface and the embarrassing camp catastrophe by Nigel Smith

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Horne. Nathalia Buttface series bk. 5. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008167127
(Age: 9-11) Recommended. Nathalia Bumole (Bew-mow-lay) or Nat Buttface to her fans is ready for a new 'cringe-tastic' adventure, an eco-camp experience with her 8H classmates. At Assembly the Head announces that snotty, grotty Darius Bagley's satirical essay has won a special prize, and Nat is very indignant because she was the real author. While Darius was completing all of her maths tests, she had written all of his essays. The prize is a week stay at a 'super damp, super bug-ridden, super grotty' back to nature camp. Unfortunately, another class is joining Nat's group; students from posh Saint Scrofula's College are also attending.
To make matters even worse, Nat's disaster-prone Dad comes along as a parent helper. He has finally applied for a proper job, teaching survival skills to juvenile delinquents and needs to pass his Approved for Kids certificate.
Of course, the fun and misadventures starts on arrival, their sleeping accommodation is in disgusting mouldy goatskin yurts while essay winner Darius has a luxury chalet. Poor Nat - Dad is up to usual embarrassing ways, dreadful jokes, ukulele playing, his green man of the woods outfit, pearls of wisdom and unhelpful suggestions. Her camp experiences are just disastrous, her sleeping bag becomes stuck to a giant weather balloon and she flies off only to land in a tree. She did not set out to destroy Saint Scrofula's geography project.
Sarah Horne's humorous ink sketches show Nat at her worst, stuck inside the model volcano as it explodes and one of the funniest episodes, horseback riding backwards on a large grumpy pony.
Author Nigel Smith's Nathalia Buttface series delivers a quirky cast of characters, a ton of humourous situations, plenty of embarrassing daily dramas and a surprise conclusion; this is a fun novel to share with a middle primary class.
Rhyllis Bignell

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