Camp Tiger

by Susan Choi (Author) John Rocco (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Imagination meets reality in this poetic and tender ode to childhood, illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner, John Rocco.

Every year, a boy and his family go camping at Mountain Pond. Usually, they see things like an eagle fishing for his dinner, a salamander with red spots on its back, and chipmunks that come to steal food while the family sits by the campfire. But this year is different. This year, the boy is going into first grade, and his mother is encouraging him to do things on his own, just like his older brother. And the most different thing of all . . . this year, a tiger comes to the woods.

With lyrical prose and dazzling art, Pulitzer Prize finalist Susan Choi and Caldecott-honor winning artist John Rocco have created a moving and joyful ode to growing up.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Making her children's book debut, Pulitzer Prize finalist Choi (American Woman) pairs with Caldecott Honor-Award illustrator Rocco (Noah Builds an Ark) to deliver a numinous story about a family camping trip. On the way to a remote campsite at Mountain Pond, the narrator warily ruminates about starting first grade. But his negative thoughts dissipate when a smallish tiger emerges from the woods and asks if the family has an extra tent, explaining, "I have a cave, but I still feel cold." The serene animal seems to cast a palliative spell: after the father unhesitatingly sets up a second tent, the boy follows the tiger inside and, in one of Rocco's many evocative pictures, the two curl up together ("He smells like sunshine and pine needles"). The animal guides the family as they hike and canoe, adventures portrayed in stunning panoramas, including one in which the family stands on a high overlook alongside the majestic tiger. In a final, dreamlike adventure, the animal takes the boy on a stargazing expedition, cementing a bond that's reinforced in the conclusion to this resonant tale of family connectedness, burgeoning independence, and embracing the new and unknown. Author's agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. Illustrator's agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. Ages 4-6. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--A tiger joins a young boy and his family as they enjoy a camping weekend in the mountains. It creeps out of the woods while they are making camp and asks whether they have an extra tent where he can take shelter from the cold. The boy and tiger spend the night together, and the creature remains throughout the weekend, even joining the family on a fishing excursion. On the last night, the animal takes the boy out in the canoe. They lie on their backs, gazing at the stars, until his parents lift the youngster into their tent. Alert readers will notice several hints that the tiger is an imaginary comfort creature, conjured up by the young narrator who is afraid of going into first grade and becoming more independent like his older brother. The tiger is small and "starts acting like a cat--a more regular cat." The boy even tells the animal that tigers don't live in the mountains. The mixed media illustrations are stunning. Rocco's cover image of the tiger, yellow eyes staring out at readers, is so huge its head seems to form a road for the hiking family. On one spread, the boy and tiger are curled up together, one large C encircling a smaller one. Back at home, wearing tiger-striped pajamas, the boy draws his imaginary friend "before [he] forget[s]." VERDICT This beautiful paring of text and illustrations is an excellent choice for group sharing and can spark discussion about ways to cope with new situations.--Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A 2019 Booklist Editors' Choice
Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of 2019
A 2019 New York Public Library Best Book for Kids

"Caldecott Honoree Rocco's stunning paintings feature a range of perspectives...allowing [them] to leap off the pages. Youngsters will thrill at the possibilities presented in Pulitzer Prize-winner Choi's tale, which combines fantasy with the everyday."—Booklist, starred review

"A multilayered coming-of-age story filled with exquisitely executed art."—Kirkus, starred review 

"Leaves readers with a sense of quiet wonderment." -BookPage, starred review

"Youngsters will welcome this fantasy-touched acknowledgment of the challenges of growing up." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"A moving story about a young boy finding his independent spirit." —Shelf Awareness

"Stunning watercolor illustrations highlight a child's growing independence." —New York Public Library

the book is so funny and like it really cool and i like to read tiger

Susan Choi
Susan Choi's first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her third novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 she was named the inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Her fourth novel, My Education, received a 2014 Lambda Literary Award. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, Susan teaches fiction writing at Yale and lives with her family in Brooklyn.

This is her first book for children.

John Rocco is the #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of many award-winning books for children, including the Caldecott Honor-winning picture book Blackout. He is also the illustrator for the internationally bestselling series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, The Heroes of Olympus, and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. His most recent titles include the fully illustrated version of Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton. John lives in Rhode Island with his wife, daughter, two wild cats, and one very rambunctious dog named Lucy.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2019
Booklist Editors' Choice
Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book
New York Public Library Best Book for Kids

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