A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some actual info about camping, for instance that it's a good idea to stick together and avoid poisonous plants. Could serve as a good introduction to camping for kids who are about to try it for the first time. Also models consulting printed matter to get info. The kids carry a guidebook and consult it before they head off and while on the trail.
Camping is fun! There are ways to stay safe on the trail.
Positive Role Models
The characters are all game and undaunted by difficulty. Ultimately, they all have a good time.
Violence & Scariness
One sequence illustrates spooky stories around a campfire and being kept awake by night sounds in the wild. Bees chase campers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Camp Rex is written by Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Molly Idle (for Flora and the Flamingo), and is a sequel to her very successful Tea Rex -- same characters, same formula, but different setting. In this book, the kids and the dinosaurs head off on a camping trip. The text is written as an upbeat wilderness guide: "Learning about the local flora and fauna can be great fun! So long as you take care to avoid any dangerous plants ... and refrain from disturbing the natural landscape ... or its inhabitants." But the art depicts a host of things going wrong, such as angry bees and overturned canoes. On some pages, it's harder to see how the art is a punch line to the text, but there's plenty of detail to enjoy, and the book has a warm, playful feel. Could serve as a fun introduction to camping.
Is It Any Good?
CAMP REX is funny, and the humor stems from the disconnect between the chipper description of camping with the uncomfortable or hapless scenes depicted in the art. On some pages kids may have to look twice to figure out how the illustration comments on the text, but on most, the humor's evident. For instance, the girl stuffs marshmallows in her ears to muffle the off-key songs around the campfire.
Overall,Camp Rex has a warm, upbeat feel, and the characters and scenes are really appealing. The mishaps are minor, camping looks like rollicking fun, and the friendship between the kids and dinosaurs is clear.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.