Sunday, August 6, 2017

Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

In Gone Fishing, Sam and his younger sister Lucy has some sibling issues to work out on a fishing trip with dad. Now, they're back. This time they are going on a camping trip with dad, and while both kids are really look forward to this, as the trip gets closer, Lucy is feeling some apprehension - after all, she doesn't like the dark, and there are all those night critters that could crawl into their tent.

Then, all packed and ready to go, dad wakes up sick on the morning of the trip and has to stay home with mom. But rather than cancelling the trip, much to Sam and Lucy's disappointment, Grandpa has agreed to take over, adding to Lucy's anxiety. After all, he be a little absent minded, on the other hand

"...Grandpa's funny, shares his candy, drives, can barbecue
Maybe we'll still have fun without Mom, Dad, or the canoe."

But Grandpa actually turns out to be lots of fun, as the three campers do all the usual camping things like pitching the tent, building a campfire and cooking weenies and bean over it, and enjoying that favorite campsite dessert - S'mores.

But as bedtime draws closer, Lucy's fears begin to worry her again:

"Twinkle, Twinkle, Mighty Mars
In the sky among the stars. Ruby planet, bold and bright
Here's my wish this camping night. Let me be alert and strong
And keep the bears where they belong."

But leave it to Grandpa to provide just the right thing to help Lucy with her fears - a gumdrop that will keep away the bears. Little did Lucy or Sam expect that the thing that would keep them both awake would be neither excitement nor fear, but their Grandpa. Luckily, however, sleep catches up with the kids and next thing they know, it's early morning. Lucy has (sort of) conquered her nighttime fears and they are ready to enjoy a whole day of camping fun before heading home.

Using a variety of poetic forms, Wissinger has certainly captured the excitement, fun and fears of camping in the forest, where it can feel too dark and scary. Just as she did in Gone Fishing, Wissinger traces each aspect of the camping trip with its own poem in the voice of either Lucy, Sam, or Grandpa, beginning with packing up the equipment to returning home, safe and sound.

Gone Camping explores a nice range of emotions and themes from disappointment, anger, and fear to excitement, realizing that Grandpa can be lots of fun given the chance, and most importantly, facing and overcoming childhood fears. For Lucy, the camping trip is a real milestone.

At the back of the book, Wissinger has included a section called Provisioning for Poetry where she discusses rhyme and rhythm, and how rhythm patters come from syllable combinations, and how line lengths come from rhythm pattern combinations. There is also a section called Poetry Techniques which includes a variety of literary terms, and a section on Poetic Forms and Stanza Patterns.

Mathew Cordell's lively colorful pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations go far in capturing just what each poem is saying, using facial expression and bodily gestures, as well as Lucy's fears - did you catch that red fox running along side Grandpa's car as they enter the woods?

Looking at the poems in both Gone Fishing and Gone Camping, I can see where they are a wonderful resource for teachers teaching their students about poetry in a fun, lighthearted, yet relatable way.

This book is recommended for readers age 6+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley

Here is a fun craft project that kids can do in connection with Gone Camping. It's a camping scene kids can cut and paste onto a piece of construction paper or card stock and put a picture of themselves into the middle of the campsite. You can find the free printable color template at Simply Learning

Used with permission of Kaitlyn at Simply Learning

1 comment:

  1. I’m with Lucy on the dark and critters – give me a nice four-star hotel any day! Having said that I can see how much fun this story will be, and I love the Gone Camping craft idea. I know two little girls who would love that.


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