A Few of My Favorite Reads
When I was writing my family camping book, I checked out a few camping-themed picture books from the library to read to my kids at bed time. One night, while reading the supremely clever Duck Tents by Lynne Berry, I had an epiphany. I would use excerpts to open each chapter of my own book. To find great quotable material for these epigraphs, it’s quite possible that I read every last kid’s camping book in print.
Here’s a list of my favorite camp-themed picture books and chapter books for kids with a few choice lines from each. A complete list can be found in the index of my book, The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids. (Or just click here.)
Camp-Themed Picture Books for Kids
1. Duck Tents by Lynne Berry
Campfire flames burn down to coals—
Ducks toast marshmallows on their poles!
Outside crispy, inside sticky,
Chewy, gooey, finger-licky.
2. Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
Outside our tent I can see
gray spiders spinning silver,
looping silky lines
through smoky wisps
of campfire, coffee steam,
and early morning mist.
3. Sheep Take a Hike by Nancy Shaw
Morning’s here! It’s warm and clear!
Sheep load up their hiking gear.
Compass, whistles, drinks, and snacks
Go in packs upon their backs.
4. Take a Hike, Snoopy! By Judy Katschke
Snoopy thought the birds would pack food, tents, and compasses. He rolled his eyes when he saw Woodstock return with golf clubs, and Harriet carefully holding her angel food cake with seven-minute frosting. Snoopy wondered if the birds understood camping in the wilderness.
5. Scare a Bear by Kathy-jo Wargin
Do you know how to scare a bear?
Would you bang pots and pans?
Would you rattle some cans?
Would you shout? Would you yell?
Would you ring a loud bell?
What if that bear isn’t easy to scare?
6. When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs
It’s campfire time. When stars wink from up high and sparks fly into the night sky, orange flames dance away the darkness. We snuggle closer and tell wonderful, scary tales.
Later, I listen to the night chorus of crickets and frogs. The lake softly laps us to sleep and I dream of camping.
7. S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
G is for the Gear you’ll need
To organize and pack
To keep your camping full of fun
And bring you safely back.
8. Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H. A. Rey
George was lost and all alone. He felt tired and stopped to rest. At first he was worried—he was very far from camp. But there were lots of other animals to keep him company. He saw a lizard sunning on a rock and a squirrel chattering in a tree. Then he saw the tail of a black and white kitty peeking out from under a tree. Would the kitty like to play? George gently pulled the kitty out.
Camp-themed Chapter Books for Kids
9. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look
“To know and appreciate nature is the key to a lifetime of discovery.”
My dad looked at me.
I looked at my dad.
“I know nature,” I said. It was true. I watch it all the time on TV.
10. Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny by Patricia Hermes
“Emma!” Lizzie cried out, bopping up and down in her chair. “Guess what, guess what? We’re going cramping.”
“Not cramping, camping!” Ira said.
“That’s what I said!” Lizzie said.
11. Piper Reed, Campfire Girl by Kimberly Willis Holt
“Look!” Stanley pointed at the vine.
“Great find, Stanley! See, your Boy Scout skills have come in handy.”
“Those leaves look familiar,” said Stanley, “but I can’t remember why.”
Each leaf had three points and there were plenty of them. We picked and picked until we filled up the sack.
Here are four more picture books worth checking out of your local library.
- Sipping Spiders through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters. By Kelly DiPucchio
- The Princess and Her Panther. By Wendy Orr.
- The Graves Family Goes Camping. By Patricia Polacco.
- In My Tent. By Marilyn Singer.
- Quiet Night. By Marilyn Singer.