Top positive review
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Great Father's Day Gift for Dads Who Like to Camp!
on June 1, 2001
The Little Critters in the book are a cross between trolls, bears, and porcupines . . . and they certainly are humorous to consider. This book is perfect for the 2-5 year old set. As your child gets older, this book will also make a good beginning reader. The idea of going camping alone with Dad will be encouraged by the story (especially if you reassure your child that bears are unlikely to take her or his fish). While many people would assume this is about a father and son, there is no language to say so. Only the blue overalls give any hint of sex, so I think the book will work well for daughters.
The story involves a camping trip. Mom waves goodbye, and the father and child are off. The father lets the child participate in as many ways as possible, even though it doesn't always work out. For example, the spot the child picks out to camp on turns out to be occupied by a porcupine and a snake!
The high point of the trip is when the child catches a fish. Dad takes a picture, and the child starts to cook the fish. Then the bear comes and snatches the fish out of the frying pan! I know from our children that fishing seems to provide endless fascination at this age. We always taught our children to carefully release the fish. Eating them is good too.
The book ends with "We slept in our tent all night long -- just me and my dad." At these ages, children are not always eager to do things without Mom. But Mom needs a break sometimes, and many Dads love to do a little direct bonding which this book will encourage.
The illustrations are bright, lovingly detailed, and humorous in as many ways as possible. They are rendered in either gouache or water color. I couldn't quite tell which medium was used.
Of special note are a tiny cricket or grasshopper and a spider that humorously accompany the father and child. This illustrated story within a story is worth the price of the book alone. Small children will naturally gravitate towards these little creatures and want to point them out with their tiny fingers.
Make wonderful laughing connections with this book!
After your child is comfortable with it, I suggest that you plan a little camping trip to find out how your child likes the actual experience. Naturally, some fishing might be in order!