As summer starts to wind down in the all too near future, hopefully you can spend some time in the great outdoors. This week, I bring you a roundup of picture books about camping, hiking, and enjoying nature. These stories teach lessons about trying new things, appreciating the ones you love, and not leaving your s’mores out for wildlife.
- “A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen – If you are familiar with Van Dusen’s work, you know that his jaunty rhymes and hilariously cartoonish illustrations are a delight, and this book follows that pattern. Mr. Magee and his dog Dee take their camper into the mountains for a relaxing camping trip, only to run into trouble. When a curious bear rifles through their marshmallow stash and accidentally unhitches their camper in the process, they are sent on a wild junket through the hills and along the river. Who will be the unlikely hero that saves them from barreling over a waterfall?
- “Hike” by Pete Oswald – In this book, a child and their dad leave behind the bustle of the big city to go for a hike in the woods. The two experience all the adventure the outdoors has to offer, from viewing wildlife to crossing a river to rock climbing and planting a tree. Though this book bears no text, it’s soft illustrations do justice to the beauty of the outdoors from various perspectives and display the variety of the landscape. My favorite part was when they add their selfie taken on the hike to a photo album of past hiking excursions, giving a generational continuity to their adventure.
- “The Camping Trip” by Jennifer K. Mann – Ernestine has never been camping until she gets invited on a trip to Cedar Tree Campground with her cousin and aunt. She is apprehensive about swimming in the lake, sleeping in a tent, and even the smell, “like trees, and fire, and dirt.” With the gentle encouragement of her family, she learns that trying new things can be exciting, especially when you get to experience them with the people you love. The comic-book style illustrations and numerous speech bubbles give the reader everyone’s perspective in this sweet story.
- “Fatima’s Great Outdoors” by Ambreen Tariq – Fatima has been having a hard time at her new school when her family suggests a camping trip at Emerald State Park. While she was scared at first of spiders and hiking and starting a fire, Fatima thought back to lessons she’d learned in her old home in India to give her confidence in this new experience. “At the campground, Fatima felt like a superhero,” and shared tales of her adventure with her classmates. Tariq, the founder of BrownPeopleCamping, thoughtfully intertwines authentic cultural references with a universal appreciation for the magic of the outdoors.
These books and many more are available for check-out at the Library.