Music Review: Lisa Loeb’s Camp Lisa

Camp Lisa: Summer Camp Songs
By Lisa Loeb
Illustrated by Esme Shapiro
Furious Rose Productions, 2008

True confession: When I first heard Camp Lisa a couple of years ago, I didn’t like it. It was completely overshadowed by the brilliance of the Bare Naked Ladies’ Snacktime, which we acquired at the same time, so I shelved it.

However, after two years of having Snacktime on nearly constant rotation, The Five-Year-Old was ready for a change and popped Camp Lisa into our CD player (yes, the playroom uses antiquated technology that The Five-Year-Old can operate herself). She loved it so much she asked me to sit down and listen to the whole thing with her the other morning “so that you can talk about it on Caterpickles, Mommyo.”

The structure of the album is pretty neat, with the mix of lovely, lively, and kind of gross songs that I associate with childhood summers and camp life. Listen to it in order and you’ll be treated to the excitement of getting out of school for the summer, the initial homesickness on first leaving for camp, a partial immersion in the camp experience via tongue twisters and group singing of both traditional camp songs like “Father Abraham” and “Home on the Range” and silly songs like “The Disappointing Pancake”, and the sorrow at leaving your new found camp friends through songs like “It’s Not Good-bye” and “Linger.”

If you have fond memories of your own childhood camp experiences, you’ll enjoy this CD. Even better, since proceeds from the sale of this album go to support the Camp Lisa Foundation, you’ll be helping kids in need gain transformative camp experiences of their own.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, The Five-Year-Old is lobbying hard for us to go camping this summer and I’ve got a bit of planning to do.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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