Monday, April 17, 2017
Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse, written by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2017. $21.99 ages 6 and up
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Mighty Mars
In the sky among the stars.
Ruby planet, bold and bright,
Here's my wish this camping night.
Let me be alert and strong.
And keep the bears where they belong."
I really enjoyed reading this companion to Gone Fishing (HMH, 2013). It's another novel in verse. This time around, Sam and Lucy are eagerly anticipating a family camping trip.
Camping in the tent sounds fun -
Until it's time to sleep.
That's when nighttime critters chatter,
Shadows twist and creep.
The tent is one big room
Without a single place to hide,
But Mom and Dad will save us
If a critter crawls inside."
A major glitch changes everything. The morning finds Dad with a terrible cold, and Mom holding down nursing duties. It's Gramp to the rescue, and the kids are wary. Lucy is extremely worried as she is afraid of the dark, and critters that might be out there where she can't really see them. It turns out that Gramp is great fun. Together, they enjoy a campfire, weenie stew and soon the familiar night noises. Not to mention the fun to be had at the nearby lake.
As she did in the first book, Ms.Wissinger fills the pages with variety in poetic form, and an abundance of information for making poetry part of a child's reading and writing experience. She offers up information on rhyme and rhythm as well as a alphabetized list of poetry techniques and poetic forms and stanza patterns, and finally a resource list. All very valuable to teachers or parents wanting to explore poetry with their children.
Wait till we tell Mom and Dad how many fish we caught.
Wait till Dad hears all about our fishing frenzy spot.
Wait till I show Mom my mighty fighting arm.
Wait till we tell Dad that Gramp's our lucky fishing charm."
Matthew Cordell's illustrations add humor and grand expression to the adventure, as he did in the first book. Full of detail and changing emotions, his line drawings offer a much appreciated look at the fun to be had when the three venture into the wild. It's a lot more excitement than anyone might have expected.