Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet

S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet

Helen Foster James
Illustrator:  Lita Judge 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-1585363025

When it starts to warm up after the winter months are over many people begin to talk about getting out their camping gear and “getting away from it all.” It used to be that camping always meant roughing it. Nowadays it is possible to camp in relative comfort by taking out a trailer or even a motor home or RV. Of course there are those die hards who still insist that the only way to really experience camping is to use a tent and to hike into a wilderness area where one can really be at one with nature.

In this wonderful alphabet book the author celebrates the joys of camping in all its forms. She explores all the possible places one can go: down rivers, into deserts, into canyons, up into the mountains, and into parks. She reminds her readers that one can camp throughout the year and thus experience the joys of every season at their fullest. Then she touches on those very important points that every camper should know about their gear, what they need to have in their emergency packs, what they need to know about their camping “kitchen,” and other pieces of practical information. Of course she also talks about just few of the wonderful things that campers are likely to encounter when they go on their expeditions. They will see all kinds of wildlife and lovely flowers. There will be splendid scenery and views, and let’s not forget the clear night skies at night.

For each letter of the alphabet and each topic in this book the author has written a brief poem which will perfectly suite the younger reader. For the older reader there is a side bar which expands on the topic further. Lovely soft watercolor paintings provide a backdrop for the text. The overall effect is a book which is a joy to look at and a joy to read on several levels.