When You Are Camping
written and illustrated by Anne Lee
2012 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Release date: March 1, 2012
Hazel and Tilly like camping, but in different ways. Hazel is very demonstrative in her desire to embrace the outdoors while Tilly is much more subtle. Hazel spins and splashes through the current on her tube while Tilly floats gently as she watches for fish swimming by. Tilly patiently waits for a caterpillar to climb up a tall blade of grass. Hazel chases moths and tries to sneak up on a gray rabbit, but with little success. Neither approach is wrong or better, just different. Both girls like to walk in the woods right after dinner. They see a deer standing still and later the girls chase fireflies. Popcorn and a story by the campfire complete the perfect day. Hazel and Tilly love camping.
I haven't been camping in decades. After reading When You Are Camping, I might need to go back. The Kirkus Review of this book used the word evocative in describing it, and I think that is the best word to describe how this text and the artwork affect you. You can smell the toasted marshmallows and feel the cool of the night woods. I remembered my nine year old self as I read about Hazel and Tilly going tubing and playing in the rain. When You Are Camping brought those memories back and I couldn't be more delighted. If you are looking for a book that can be used to teach mood, this is a great choice. Children who are campers will want to chime in with their connections and you can teach comparison with Hazel and Tilly. I just sighed a big sigh after reading this book because it made me nostalgic and happy. You can't beat that.