I love taking walks out in nature, breathing in fresh air, listening to the musical symphony of the birds and insects, hugging a tree or two, spreading out a blanket to enjoy a picnic beside in a serene setting. I’m there! But pitch a tent, hand me a sleeping bag, and tell me that these are my accommodations for the night, and you’ll see me run like I’ve got a crocodile snapping at my heels. According to the dictionary, accommodations means something that meets a need; a convenience. Let’s take a look at Leslie’s List of Basic Needs.
- A comfortable bed at least one foot above the ground (higher is, of course, appreciated).
- One deep pillow and a soft, quiet blanket.
- Real walls that don’t flap.
- A window with a screen to keep out bugs.
- A door that locks with a latch or key and NOT with a zipper.
- A sink with clean, drinkable, running water.
- A genuine toilet – NOT an outhouse or a bucket.
- An outlet (This is a big one) to plug in my hairdryer.
I could go on, but to any hardcore campers out there, I probably sound like a princess.
No apologies. This is who I am.
Yes, I have been camping. Twice officially, and one time that probably doesn’t count. More on that later.
Camping fiasco #1 My sleeping bag fell in a stream and bloated up with smelly water. With nothing to sleep on, I sat up all night. The evening brought a thunderstorm. Rain pelted. The tent sprung a leak JUST over my sleeping bag but not over the sleeping bags of my two tentmates.
Camping fiasco #2 I slept in the family car with my dad and sister. Due to my father’s long legs, we kept the back hatch down so he could stretch out, and the mosquitos could fly in with easy access to the all-night ‘Leslie Buffet.’ In the morning, I sported what looked like the plague. People kept their distance.
Camping fiasco #3 (The third unofficial camping trip.) I slept in a cabin–a seriously rustic cabin–that provided a sink barely big enough to wash one hand in at a time, a filthy mirror, cracked cement floors, and a sagging mattress (more of a hammock, really). Forget what I said earlier, I’m totally counting this one as a camping experience.
All of these fond memories bring me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of a camping story that takes place, not in a tent or cabin, but in a camper trailer. Hang on to your seats, you’re in for a rollicking adventure with Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee!
Title – A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee
Written and illustrated by – Chris Van Dusen
Published – Chronicle Books – 2003
Suitable for ages – 4 to 8. Scratch that. This book is suitable for all ages.
Topics – Camping, stories in rhyme, bears, sticky situations.
Opening – Early one morning at 7:03,
Mr. Magee and his little dog, Dee,
packed up the camper and hitched up the load,
hopped in the Rambler and then hit the road.
They drove to the mountains, far from the sea,
for two nights of camping (or possibly three).
Amazon Review – View it HERE. Mr. Magee and his trusty dog, Dee, are enjoying a peaceful camping trip when along comes a lumbering, marshmallow-loving bear and the excitement begins. The next thing the two campers know, they are plunging down a mountain, racing down a river, and teetering on the edge of a waterfall! How will Mr. Magee and Dee find their way out of this slippery situation?
Why do I like this book? Without a doubt, if anyone can make a camping story, even one wrought with hair-raising, edge-of-your-seat action, sound like a must-do outing, it’s Chris Van Dusen. You’ll come across situations in this story you’ll swear no one could escape from or survive. But, with his brilliant imagination and true-blue gift for storytelling as well as his detail-rich, color-filled, high-energy illustrations, Mr. Van Dusen gets Mr. Magee and his little dog out of some pretty crazy scrapes. It’s what I call magical!
Want to learn a little more about Chris Van Dusen? Click HERE.
ACTIVITY TIME – How to have some camping fun indoors.
- Clear some space in your living room to pitch a tent.
- No tent? No problem! String up some strands of twinkle lights, spread out your blankets or sleeping bags, and pretend you’re lying under the glow of a million shimmering stars. Of course, you could make a cozy blanket tent with chairs, too.
- Pull on your PJs.
- Grab a flashlight, dim the room lights, and tell ghost stories (or jokes).
- Broil or boil up hot dogs.
- And for the vegetarians… make veggie burgers!
- Make S’mores for dessert.
- Campfire? Gotta have one. Pile up a few small logs or empty paper towel rolls, and use red and yellow tissue paper for the flames. Add a glow from below with battery-operated tea lights.
The perks? Oh, yes! Indoor camping’s got ’em!
Walls that don’t flap, doors that lock, outlets, no bugs, and indoor plumbing.
Need more ideas?
- Everything you need to have an indoor camping party HERE.
- 20 imaginative camp-perfect crafts for kids HERE.
I hope you’ll stop back on Monday to read my poem about… Camping!
See you then!