Review of The Best Worst Camp Out Ever

The Best Worst Camp Out Ever The Best Worst Camp Out Ever [I Like to Read: Comics]
by Joe Cepeda; illus. by the author
Primary    Holiday    40 pp.
4/24    9780823453948    $14.99
e-book ed.  9780823457403    $8.99

Cepeda, creator of many excellent first-step beginning readers (I Hop; I Help; I Dig), offers a comic for more experienced readers. “What could go wrong?” a father asks his son while packing the car for a camping trip. Well, for starters, the campground is full, but the pair makes the best of a less-comfortable campsite down the road. When it turns out—“Uh-oh”—that Dad forgot the tent poles, they take the opportunity to sleep under the stars. Mostly minor setbacks (skunks, rain) force them to enjoy the experience they’re having instead of the one they’d expected. Digital illustrations in aquas, greens, and browns have an ink-and-watercolor feel that suits the low-stakes outdoor adventure. Readers will need some fluency to navigate multiple word bubbles per page, multiple speakers, and compound and multisyllabic words with a number of sound blends and linguistic quirks. Most of the language is likely to be familiar, though, and the illustrations provide support for less common words, such as the night sky full of stars around “Venus…and the Big Dipper…and Capella…and Polaris.” When father and son get home, Mom asks how the trip went, and the child shouts, “Everything went wrong…It was great!” A solid lesson for all of us on how to navigate life’s little disappointments.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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