Wild Days: Outdoor Play For Young Adventurers (Richard Irvine)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Wild Days: Outdoor Play For Young Adventurers by Richard Irvine, a camping and survival guidebook for young bookworms.

Welcome to the great outdoors! There are all sorts of adventures to be had by intrepid young explorers – if one can master the basics first. This practical guide runs through some basic survival skills for kiddos, like building shelters, making campfires, tying knots, even whittling (all with proper adult supervision, of course). From there, readers can learn games and crafts that don’t require cables or wifi, in addition to wonders that can only be discovered in our natural world.

Engaging and informative. Part survival guide, part nature guide, and part craft book, this comprehensive title does a wonderful job of creating excitement about the outdoors for a generation of kids raised on tablets and smartphones. While many activities are all-ages (like stargazing, Pooh sticks, skipping stones, and twig boats), there are some that are definitely geared only towards older readers, such as whittling, fire-making, and even instructions on crafting and shooting a bow and arrow (reminders on safety and adult supervision during these activities are there, yet a little less frequent and distinctive than parents might prefer). Still, the instructions for each activity are well-written and clear, and the full-color pictures and illustrations make for a visually compelling guide. A great basic introductory book for kids exploring nature for the first time, or looking to find new “unplugged” activities in the great outdoors, and JJ and I both enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Duck & Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers (Julia Woolf)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Duck & Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers by Julia Woolf, the return to the reluctant playmates from Duck & Penguin Are Not Friends.

Bestest pals Betty and Maud are back… along with their beleaguered stuffies (Duck and Penguin, respectively). While Betty and Maud adore each other’s company, Duck and Penguin are no closer than they were in the first title – to be blunt, they despise one another. So as Betty and Maud prepare for a camping sleepover by setting up their tent, cozying into pajamas, and sipping fizzy sodas, Duck and Penguin are busy silently fighting, scowling, and sabotaging each other. Yet when the girls need to run inside for a potty break – leaving the toys behind – the noises and darkness of the night cause them to cuddle a little closer, despite their differences.

Silly fun. Once again, this unique tale of anti-friendship draws a great deal of comedy from the animosity between the titular characters. The matter-of-fact narration, infectiously joyful voices of the girls, and expressive illustrations of the toys work together perfectly to sell Duck and Penguin’s predicament, as well as the scary (but not too scary) nighttime elements that help bring them together – including a genuinely hilarious final spread. This one is less a lesson in unlikely friendship and more a straightforward comedy, and it works all the better for it; Duck and Penguin’s reconciliation is hinted at on the endpapers, but isn’t included in the narrative. The length is perfect, JJ was giggling all the way through, and this was just a lovely, entertaining read – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

The Great Indoors (Julie Falatko)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Great Indoors, written by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Ruth Chan, a cute tale of woodland creatures getting away from it all.

Soon after a family pulls away from their home, their car loaded up with camping gear and supplies, a group of animals peeks out from the bushes and ventures into the empty house. The Bears, Beavers, Deer, and many more woodland families join in this annual tradition of living the “simple” life in the great indoors. The Bears cozy up in front of the couch, the beavers take command of the kitchen, the deer bring the party, and all the families marvel at the “creature comforts” of their home away from home. But soon, the inconveniences of indoor life begin to grow frustrating, and the indoor campers are ready to head back to normal life in the woods – wonder what their human hosts will think of the mess they left behind?

This is such a great concept: the idea that animals “camp” in our homes just as we camp in theirs. The story has a lot of fun with this, drawing various parallels to both the joys of camping and its frustrations while framing it around this concept, and it makes for a few good laughs (and even one gag that’s worth thinking about: how would YOU feel if someone left their mess on your home after camping?). Chan’s artwork adds a chaotic energy to the bunch, and does a great job of tracking the mess in the house as it gets more and more out of control. The length is good, and JJ liked it. A great one to read pre-camping trip, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!