The Best Worst Camp Out Ever

Holiday House. (I Like to Read Comics). Apr. 2024. 40p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780823453948.
PreS-Gr 2–It’s school break and time for an adventure! And dad’s ready to go, sort of. The burritos are ready for the car ride, the car is comedically overpacked, and picturesque Camp Lago Azul, where they’re hoping to set down stakes, is full. So the boy and his father move along to arid, arborless Camp Lago Verde, too late to cook dinner and short of their tent poles. Sleeping under the stars is gorgeous, but they wake up nose-to-nose with curious deer. Their full day in nature features bears and skunks, a boating idyll that doesn’t produce any fish for dinner, and a rainstorm which forces a flourish of ingenuity in shelter-building. In the end, nearly everything goes wrong, but between positive attitudes, parental problem-solving chops, and a serious slew of PB&Js, it turns out to be a picturesque bonding experience. Cepeda’s sketchy, colorful images of natural landscapes and friendly fauna are a solid argument for the value of any time spent in nature. The comic’s paneling choices, while slightly idiosyncratic for new readers, keep the story rolling, climbing, and flowing through the various stages of the trip. The not-so-subtle wink to adults to keep their cool and make the best of similar situations will definitely elicit knowing chuckles and nods from those accompanying young readers. Cepeda’s characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired.
VERDICT An efficient, richly illustrated, and funny adventure, entertaining for early readers and perhaps even more amusing for adults sharing the story.

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