Title: When We Go Camping
Author: Sally Sutton
Illustrator: Cat Chapman
Publisher: Walker Books
RRP: $24.99

End papers filled with everything you need when camping greets the prospective reader: sunglasses, tent, hat, guitar, torch, fishing line, and more The story begins on the inside title page with a packed car driving through a grassy area, dog looking out the window. The following double page spread shows a family setting up their tent. The rhyming, repetitive, singsong text tells of various aspects of camping. From setting up the tent to making friends, going fishing and swimming, to peeing in the long-drop toilet, this book just about covers everything. It resonates with many families’ camping outings.

The layout is similar on each page, with some pages varying in double page spreads to a smaller illustration covering a little over half the double page spread with a yet smaller vignette illustration on the right hand page. There are aspects in the visual text not mentioned in the verbal, adding to the narrative for young viewers. It is so very important to expose young readers to quality picture books where they need to ‘read’ further into the narrative than what the verbal text has to offer.

When we go camping would be absolutely perfect for a story time session with a young audience. The verbal text rhymes perfectly and almost pleads to be read aloud. Onomatopoeia is used extensively, mixed with invented language, for example, ‘Slurpetty sloppetty sipp-io’. Actions can be included in the reading and many discussions stimulated from the goings on in the pictures.

I love this book more with every reading. If you have a young audience with which to share such a book, I highly recommend it. It would also make a lovely Christmas present, especially for a camping family.

Thank you to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.

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