Monday, May 27, 2019

Review - Camp Tiger

Camp Tiger
by Susan Choi
illustrated by John Rocco
Date: 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Every year, a boy and his family go camping at Mountain Pond.

Usually, they see things like an eagle fishing for his dinner, a salamander with red spots on its back, and chipmunks that come to steal food while the family sits by the campfire.

But this year is different. This year, the boy is going into first grade, and his mother is encouraging him to do things on his own, just like his older brother. And the most different thing of all . . . this year, a tiger comes to the woods.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm not sure if I even fully "get" this book. But I kind of love it.

A little boy goes camping with his family (dad, mom, and older brother). As they prepare to set up camp, a tiger walks out of the woods. As if that's not unusual enough, the tiger starts to talk! He asks the family if they have an extra tent, because all he has is a cave and he's kind of cold. The family does, in fact, have an extra tent, so the tiger proceeds to spend the rest of the trip with the family, joining them for canoeing, fishing, and hiking.

There's some sort of message about growing up and becoming independent, but I'm not sure if the tiger is supposed to represent something beyond that, or if he's just a fanciful element in the story. In any case, the perfectly rendered illustrations won me over and quashed what few doubts I might've had about the narrative. Yes, it's a bit weird and I'm not sure if kids will be able to glean any hidden meaning from the text (if there even is one), but this is such a beautiful book to look at that they'll probably be mesmerized by the pictures. The ones of the tiger diving to catch fish and the stargazing scene with the canoe are breathtakingly beautiful.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up on a whim from the library, and I'm glad I did!

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.67 out of 5

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