Published by Candlewick
Summary: Ernestine has never been camping, but when her Aunt Jackie invites her to go with her and her cousin Samantha, she’s sure she’s going to love it. Aunt Jackie and Samantha seem to be experienced campers, sending Ernestine a packing list in advance. When they get to the campsite, things turn out to be a little different from what Ernestine is expecting. The lake full of fish is different from the swimming pool back home, putting up a tent is not as easy as building a blanket fort, and tofu hot dogs with broccoli salad are not exactly what Ernestine is craving for dinner. But it’s fun to explore nature on a hike (even if the hills are a bit steeper than what she’s used to), and the s’mores are delicious. When homesickness hits at bedtime, Aunt Jackie takes the girls out to gaze at the stars until they’re both sleepy enough for bed. A pancake breakfast rounds out the camping trip, and when Ernestine gets home, she decides she loves camping and is ready to go again. 56 pages; ages 4-9.
Pros: Ernestine is a likeable guide to the camping experience for beginners with the G. Brian Karas-inspired illustrations showing what she is telling. The whole book would serve as a good intro to kids who are about to embark upon their first excursion into the wilderness.
Cons: As someone who camped out of the back of a van with my family for as long as three weeks (in tents), I’d like to give Aunt Jackie some packing tips. There’s no excuse for having your car so full you can hardly close the hatchback for an overnight camping trip with three people.