Thursday, July 17, 2014

Camp Rex by Molly Idle

Camp Rex by Molly Idle

Rating: 4 stars

Hurry, check out this book to get in the mood for your summer camping trip!

If you close your eyes and just listen to the words of the book, you'll hear an old time-y, 1950s guide to camping. I just can hear the enthusiastic, wholesome male voice ring loud and clear:
Searching for an outing to enjoy with your friends?  Consider camping! The fresh air and exercise are invigorating!
Remember to stay together as a group…and stick to the trail. When you reach the campsite, find the perfect place to pitch your tent.
The words in this picture book are straightforward.  The illustrations?  Funny, quirky, endearing, and downright beautiful.  I just can't get enough of them!

Set to the wholesome, no-nonsense voiceover, a girl, her brother, and their pre-historic pals head out on a camping trip. Their time starts innocently enough as they march smilingly through the woods to a campsite. Their tents go up--with a few mishaps--and wave cheerily to a crabby owl as they move out to explore the area.

This is where the story picks up.
A traditional sing-along and marshmallow roast
always bring campers closer together.

They nearly step into poison ivy, and as the narrator urges them not to disturb the natural landscape, T-Rex (with a teensy-tiny boy scout hat perched atop his gigantic noggin), he picks up a beehive. Hilarious panic ensues as they run and jump into a lake.  They head back to camp to start a fire, cook dinner, and roast marshmallows.  T-Rex tries to be helpful by ripping up an entire tree to add to the fire, but instead he uses it to roast marshmallows: the entire root system of the tree has a marshmallow balanced on it.

This is a very cute book with incredibly sweet and warm illustrations.  Really, I'd like the pages of this book to be prints that I could frame and hang around my kids' rooms. I guess I shouldn't expect less from Molly Idle, the author and illustrator of Caldecott honor book Flora and the Flamingo last year.

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