Making friends can be hard for a nervous bear, even at summer camp. But Frank’s about to discover a mystery… and the camp needs him to save the day!
Frank is perhaps the most un-bear-like bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. Actually, he’s probably the ONLY bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. And there are tons of bugs, he’s getting picked on, and he can’t seem to earn a single badge! But there’s Ricky, an excitable little raccoon who shares Frank’s love of Mega Bunny comics. But Ricky’s friendship might be more than Frank can handle. After breaking camp rules, getting lost in the woods, and discovering ancient secrets about the long-forgotten Order of the Night Jay, how will Frank explain all this to his dad?
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nyara A. comments, “Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons is a heartwarming graphic novel that shares a tale of friendship, bravery, and discovery. Through detailed and colorful graphics, the reader journeys with a bear named Frank during his first experience at summer camp.” See her full review and interview below.
Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons by Jonathan Schnapp
By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons is a heartwarming graphic novel that shares a tale of friendship, bravery, and discovery. Through detailed and colorful graphics, the reader journeys with a bear named Frank during his first experience at summer camp. My favorite parts of the book are the letters that Frank sends to his father describing his daily adventures.
Order of the Night Jay follows the protagonist Frank, a shy, anxious bear, who is just looking for some friends. Because he is the only big animal at camp he feels out of place. Teased due to his size, he worries whether he will ever fit in. When he meets Ricky, an extroverted and bubbly racoon, his whole outlook begins to change. On an overnight trip, the two friends discover a secret code. What does this code mean? And most importantly, where will this code lead them?
Author Jonathan Schnapp engages the reader with earthy and original graphics. Even though the characters are animals, the drawing style makes their emotions relatable and their facial expressions almost human. By using letters home, we get a glimpse into Frank’s mind. And Frank writes his own comic, within the comic, so we are able to see the creativity behind his quiet and shy facade. The words he uses are ones we have used or could easily relate to. Each of the characters has a unique backstory and graphics, too.
This book is perfectly suited for any child who is about to start something new, like a new school year, a new activity after school, or even going to summer camp for the first time. The graphics are most appropriate for elementary school-aged children. The story could start a little more quickly, so I would encourage readers to keep going because the story gets good!
I give Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. It is available September 20, 2022 at online retailers and in bookstores.
Keywords: detective, adventure, camp, animals, friendship, prejudice, campfire story, thrilling series, cliffhanger