A school-age kid is grumpy about going on a family camping trip but eventually comes to appreciate what the outdoors has to offer.
Standing on the street in a very cool town, with its artsy soap and pottery stands and street musician, our protagonist, arms folded, tells the other kids, “I have no idea why we have to ‘venture into the great outdoors’ this summer,” but off they go, leaving the city behind and driving straight into the mountains. “It’s not like there’s anything out here,” the narrator continues, as the landscape turns thick with wildlife. “There’s no electricity,” is the next complaint, as the protagonist sits glumly, ignoring the campfire. The narrator misses the “city lights” even as mom points up at the aurora borealis. The others seem oblivious to this disgruntlement as they frolic, take pictures, and explore. After they spot bears (from the safety of the car), the narrator comes around. “Well, I guess I could get by with songbirds instead of street performers.” Fishing, biking, and incredible views are none too shabby either. The mixed-media illustrations use short strokes and deep color to render the fullness of the land with a calm energy. The narrator has brown skin and straight, black hair, as do baby sib and mom; dad presents white.
Watching this protagonist’s reluctant change of heart won’t get old; neither will the beckoning scenes of the great outdoors. (Picture book. 5-9)