Camp Tiger by Susan Choi, illustrated by John Rocco

Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers

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Summary:  It’s the last weekend of summer; the narrator is about to start first grade and isn’t sure he wants to leave kindergarten.  When he and his family go on their annual camping trip to Mountain Pond, they’re surprised when a tiger comes to join them. He asks if he can borrow a tent, and he and the boy hang out inside.  The tiger joins the family as they hike, canoe, and fish, and the boy finds himself doing things that in the past have been difficult, like catching a fish and steering the canoe. The two go on a nighttime adventure the final night, but when the boy wakes up the next morning, the tiger is gone.  When the family gets home again, he draws a picture to show his first grade teacher and to help him to remember the tiger. 40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Kids will be kept guessing about the tiger–is he real or imaginary?–as they connect with the boy discovering his own tiger nature and becoming braver about trying new things.  John Rocco’s illustrations are amazing and possibly worth some Caldecott consideration.

Cons:  Some of the symbolism introduced by Yale professor and Pulitzer Prize finalist Susan Choi may be a bit over the heads of the intended audience.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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