Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Dan Versus Nature

Publish August 19, 2016

Don Calame’s latest novel, Dan Versus Nature, is a hilarious coming-of-age story centred around a camping trip gone horribly wrong. Nerdy, quiet Dan Weekes spends most of his time creating graphic novels and trying to avoid getting beaten up at school. Unhappy when his mother gets engaged to her latest boyfriend, Dan is even more upset when she sends him on a survivalist adventure with Hank so the two of them can get to know each other. With the help of his best friend, Dan hatches a plan to show his mother that marrying Hank would be a big mistake, but things go awry when Dan, Charlie, and Hank are chased by a bear and get separated from their wilderness guide. Now that his actual survival depends on his stepdad-to-be, Dan must decide how far he’s wants to push Hank and at what cost. Through Dan’s narration Calame perfectly captures the voice of an immature, yet well-intentioned, adolescent boy. Dan’s increasingly outrageous attempts to sabotage Hank, usually at the cost of Dan’s own dignity, are hysterically funny, and Charlie’s know-it-all commentary only adds to the novel’s slapstick humour. Beneath all the gross-out comedy is a touching story about a teenager trying to protect his family from being abandoned by a father again, but this is definitely not a sentimental novel. Action-packed and entertaining, Dan Versus Nature embraces the humiliating chaos that goes along with being a teenage boy and is the perfect summer read.    

Dan Versus Nature

Don Calame
Candlewick Press: Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-7071-9

Roseanne Gauthier
Roseanne Gauthier

Roseanne Gauthier is the Youth Services Librarian for the Prince Edward Island (PEI) Public Library Service, and is PEI's 2017 award-winning 'Champion of Reading'. She has worked in the Faculties of Education at both the University of Prince Edward Island and Mount Saint Vincent University and spent two amazing years as the Children’s Librarian at the Confederation Centre Public Library. She holds an MLIS from Dalhousie University, and an MA from the University of Waterloo. Roseanne lives in Charlottetown, PEI with her husband, their adorable daughter, and two tuxedo cats.

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