Ernestine has never been camping before, but she’s sure it will be lots of fun . . . won’t it? An endearing story about a girl’s first experience with the great outdoors.
My aunt Jackie invited me to go camping with her and my cousin Samantha this weekend. I’ve never been camping before, but I know I will love it.
Ernestine is beyond excited to go camping. She follows the packing list carefully (new sleeping bag! new flashlight! special trail mix made with Dad!) so she knows she is ready when the weekend arrives. But she quickly realizes that nothing could have prepared her for how hard it is to set up a tent, never mind fall asleep in it, or that swimming in a lake means that there will be fish — eep! Will Ernestine be able to enjoy the wilderness, or will it prove to be a bit too far out of her comfort zone? In an energetic illustrated story about a first sleepover under the stars, acclaimed author-illustrator Jennifer K. Mann reminds us that opening your mind to new experiences, no matter how challenging, can lead to great memories (and a newfound taste for s’mores).
Jennifer K. Mann was an architect before turning to children’s books full time. She is the creator of the picture books Josie’s Lost Tooth, Sam and Jump, Two Speckled Eggs, and I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard. She and her family spend a week camping with friends every summer, always at the same campsite in a beautiful state park. They pack their rickety pick-up truck full of gear and dogs, put an old canoe on the roof, and spend the week hiking, exploring, swimming, paddling, cooking outside, telling stories, and sleeping in tents. Jennifer K. Mann lives on an island near Seattle with her husband, children, cats, dogs, and chickens.
Mann's thin, sometime-scribbly lines and earth-toned colors capture the child's viewpoint masterfully, and the variety of layouts, from pages full of small vignettes with speech bubbles to spread-spanning landscapes, carries readers through anticipation, humor, and awe in this longer-than-usual picture book/graphic novel hybrid...This delightful trip will be savored again and again.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Sweet pencil illustrations, collaged and painted digitally, appear in a variety of sizes, including some graphic-style panels that employ speech bubbles for dialogue. Beginning readers will enjoy being able to look at a picture and read the camping word placed nearby—camera, hat, swimsuit, pillow, sunglasses—on the endpapers as well as in the story. This title can serve as a manual for children who are about to go camping for the first time or as a remembrance for those who have had that exhilarating adventure.
—Booklist (starred review)
Mann's skillfully crafted pencil and "digitally collaged and painted" illustrations, in a nicely paced mix of panels, full-page illustrations, and double-page spreads, quietly foster a love for the wilderness while they show how time spent outside can bring families closer. A rare and welcome depiction of an African American family going camping.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Fans of Alison Farrell’s The Hike will find much to love in this graphic novel–style picture book by Mann (Josie’s Lost Tooth) about Ernestine, a city kid on her first camping trip...Mann wisely refrains from tying up her story with a big ribbon, but readers will understand what Ernestine knows: the world looks different after a wonderful adventure.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From the car ride to the tent setup, young readers will get a solid foundation in what to expect from camping. A great guide for those heading out on their first outdoor adventure.
—School Library Journal
The sequential collage illustrations pick out the humorous contrasts between Ernestine’s gray-toned points of reference and the full color reality the woods offers. This might be a fine step up to Wissinger’s Gone Camping (BCCB 2/17) for families heading out off on their own summer overnights.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books