Board books about camping are hard to find, so this book die cut in the shape of an RV is initially appealing.
Croc, Lion, Giraffe, and Bear are cute stuffed animals, but they’re sadly unprepared for camping. Hardly are they on their way but they stop to buy snacks for the road. When they arrive at the campsite, they go shopping again at the camp store. Their only contact with nature is gathering wood for a fire. (Experienced campers know that’s often a no-no, but there’s no mention of this.) When their campfire is interrupted by rain they shelter in the tent that Croc bought at the camp store. Why don’t they just sleep in the RV? The cheerful reptile driving the bright blue camper van shows up on every page, but the overall lack of consistency will confuse readers. Instead of seamless spreads, each page is a new picture drawn from a different perspective and to a different scale. This is most disorienting on the pages about the grocery store. The frequent positioning of the same characters across the gutter from one another is developmentally unsound; toddlers will not recognize them as the same characters depicted twice but will rather think that they are separate characters. The wordy text, crowded pictures, and disjointed storyline ultimately disappoint. Simultaneously publishing are Birthday Bus, Safari Park, and Train Trip.
Camping can be fun, but this outing isn’t worth the trip. (Board book. 1-3)