Search This Blog

Friday, 17 March 2017

Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping

Author and Illustrator: Sarah Garland
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2015

It's my unwritten rule on this blog to only feature books that have been on our bookshelf for a good three months (minimum), as I want to feature books that have proven longevity with young children. Eddie's Tent and How to go Camping is a library book we've borrowed for three weeks...I'm breaking with the rule here as Bert (5) has requested I read this book to him everyday this week, and so I'm keen to buy the other three titles in the Eddie series. 

Eddie's Tent is a fabulous mix of fiction and non-fiction which is proving very satisfying to Bert's early reader sensibilities. The book feels like the perfect read for 4-6year olds, as this seems to be the age children gain an interest in learning and sometimes reciting fact, with 'understanding the world around them' a feature of the early years British curriculum. The furore of camping also seems like an ideal reach to this age group, and has proved mightly appealing to Bert. This title offers both narrative about a family preparing and then embarking on a camping trip, and practical tips and skills needed for a successful camping trip. There's plenty of camping specific vocabulary such as 'pot hook', 'billy' and 'damper bread', placed in appropriate narrative context so offering implicit learning. I also like that the author pays heed to all the senses, adjectives related to and descriptions of sights, sounds, tastes, smells and the feeling of camping: 'When it was crisp and golden, they ate it with butter. Even the burnt bits tasted good', for example. 

The book is laid out in a way that maximises interest, with each short written piece accompanied by a small picture alongside. The simple pencil and colour illustrations have a child-like quality, they're not overworked or perfected, but resemble what an older child might achieve, so feel obtainable, 'copyable' to young enthusiastic hands (Bert has produced some great tent pictures himself this week, feeling inspired). Camping is itself a very aspirational activity for young children, so again, a great topic. 

We'd also read this book a couple of times before realising it refreshingly represents a blended family (or at least a non-nuclear family).  The parent characters in the book are 'Mum and Tom' and the two younger siblings, 'Lily and Tily' have similar names but different hair colour and skin tone. Later in the story Eddie makes a new friend, Max, who is spending the day with his grandad. The story is very idealistic, both families happy and gathered round the camp fire singing; togetherness and teamwork are welcome themes in this house though, given we're in a big blended family ourselves. 

The story goes off on lots of wispy tangents, which again really gripped Bert's interest. These tangents present family life as fun, so for example everyone practising handstands, sharing fish and chips from the van, and drinking  hot chocolate in the tent. There's also lots of suggests of activities to follow up the reading ( all implied), so for example, reading a compass, making dens indoors, and Eddie even sits down to draw a map of his journey at one interval. There's also a moment of suspense and high drama in the book as new friends Max and Eddie loose Max's puppy and chase him through woods, getting lost. Their newfound adventuring skills lead them to safety. As a really nice outro, the book includes 'some tips for camping' as an index (even though these tips are offered in short interwoven throughout the book too). 

In all, Eddie's Tent would make a brilliant addition to any early years or key stage 1 classroom. It's informative and imaginative, descriptive and explanatory at the same time. I just hope we can return our loan to the library without too much fuss, before our bought copy arrives.  

If you like this, you may also like (this other non-fiction): The Story of The Titanic (for children)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...