Camille McPhee Fell Under the Bus by Kristen Tracy

Book Talk

Schema: 4th grade, parents fighting, science fair projects, friends moving away

Would you ever think to dig up a dead pet to use its bones for a science fair project?  How about realizing your parents have secretly given a pet away and told you it ran away?  These things support Camille’s realization that life isn’t fair.  Her father tells her this early on, and Camille finds many examples to support it during her fourth grade year.

Camille, a fourth grader, begins her year like a dingo–off to herself  since her best friend moved away to Japan.  She decides that she doesn’t need a friend and will do her own thing.  The title comes from a bad experience in which Camille slips and slides under the bus in her white coat.  Her lunch flies everywhere so she just goes home and gets in bed.  Thanks to a careful bus driver who counts the kids before she drives away, Camille is rescued with only her pride hurt.  The author has a very humorous way of wording things and has created a very strong voice for Camille.

Camille has also had  a bad run with her pets; three cats have disappeared or died.  She really misses one in particular and looks for her often.

Camille’s parents are not happy because of their finances.  Camille’s mother plans a little secret house renovation while her husband is on a business trip; Camille intervenes a wall excavation, but can’t prevent the house being painted purple.   Camille cooperates because her mother also keeps her secret from her father about her working as a mother’s helper and one time babysitter for a neighbor who home schools her wild children and just happens to be babysitting when one of the boys ends up handcuffed to a huge propane fuel tank.  Being a smart girl who knows when she’s beat, 911 is always a solution!

Camille could be your best friend and one that would never let you down.  Her feelings are ones we have all experienced on good days and bad.  If you want to read a book about a girl who struggles at home and school to be the best she can, then you will love this book.

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