The third laugh-out-loud outing for Sam Wu sees our hero facing another of his fears on an unexpected camping expedition. The story starts so well for Sam as he reassures his best friend Bernard that there is nothing to worry about on his forthcoming camping trip with his father. Little does Sam realise that he too will be invited on the expedition to the dark, dark woods. Even worse is to come when his bossy, older cousin who has just arrived from Hong Kong is also invited along! Just when Sam thinks that things couldn’t get any worse, they arrive at the campsite to discover that Sam’s tormentor Ralph Philip Zinkerman is also camping there, this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that Ralph’s kind and lovely sister Regina is also on the trip with their friend Zoe!
Poor Sam seems uncertain what to be most frightened of, aliens, werewolves, vampire bats, bears or quite simply just THE DARK. However, as we have come to expect from Sam, he takes inspiration from his favourite TV show, Space Blasters, to help him conquer his fears.
There are many reasons to love this book. Firstly, it is just such a fun read, with Sam and his friends getting themselves into unexpected situations with hilarious consequences. The banter between the characters is wholly believable and totally recognisable to anyone who has spent time with children. The diversity of the characters makes this a book in which many children will recognise themselves, and the themes of working as a team and overcoming your fears are presented with great dollops of humour. Adding to all of this enjoyment are the wonderful illustrations by Nathan Reed and the interesting use of different fonts in the text.
A book that definitely fulfils the “read-for-pleasure” criteria and which will be enjoyed even by the most reluctant readers. Highly recommended for ages 7+