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While my boyfriend gets weird food cravings all the time, my cravings tend to strike when I read. A little while back I was on the lookout for a good camp book. Not tales to tell by a campfire, but stories about characters at summer camp. Seemed simple enough, but it took me a while and many false starts before discovering…Lumberjanes. This is a new series of comics put out by Boom! Box Studios and my niece and I are already hooked.

The Lumberjane scout camp, as the sign below clearly says, is for Hardcore Lady Types. “Friendship to the Max!”

lumberjanes scout camp

I really want to thank the minds behind this series for creating female characters who are funny, curious and at that age when friendship means the world. There’s nothing like watching my 6-year-old niece sound out words like “brave” and “strong” and pick up new catchphrases like “What the junk?”

Lumberjanes 1 and 2 coversThe Lumberjanes are kind of pricey on sites like Amazon, but order them directly from Boom Box! Studios and they’re $4 each and only charge about $3 for shipping the whole bundle. I ordered the first three, which were the only ones available at the time. I was tempted to sign my little buddy up for a subscription because she loves getting mail, but I wanted to see if she liked them first. My comics shipped the day I ordered them and arrived in a protective envelope in perfect condition a few days later.

The illustrations make the action easy for her to follow. This was her very first time reading a comic book so I had the privilege of introducing her to the joy of pulling a new comic from the plastic sleeve and breathing in the distinct smell of fresh ink. We read with our fingers so she could learn how dialogue blobs show who’s saying what and how the writing for different sound effects communicates when something is loud or eerie.

It’s a curious experience to introduce a young reader to more visual reading. The Lumberjanes have engaged her in a way other books haven’t been able to this summer and that says a lot because they’re competing against drive-ins, the beach and fireflies. Our favorite issue so far is #2 because it’s about a wild river adventure and she’s about to go on her first canoe trip.

What’s it all about, you ask? Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are best pals staying in the same cabin at the Lumberjane scout camp for the summer. There’s something off about the area, strange old women that turn into bears, three-eyed wolves and ancient underground statues the come to life to arm wrestle. The girls put their minds together to figure out puzzles, but they’re not very good at avoiding the watchful eye of their camp counselor, Jen.

We laughed a lot and re-read several times before realizing that the back of each episode awards the reader with a merit badge relevant to the story:

Lumberjanes scout merit badges

The stories are simple and fun to share with the future butt-kicker in your life. I wish I had something like Lumberjanes growing up. I’d have gladly traded the spoiled Sweet Valley High twins for these girls.