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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
When Fred the Snake and Friends Go Camping by Peter Cotton, illustrated by Bonnie Lemaire, is a delightful children's adventure book, and number six in the award-winning Fred the Snake series. This rhyming story will engage adults and children alike as Jungle Jim and Fred the Snake go camping with friends. Children will get a sense of what it means to go camping in a truly fun way as they explore the wonders of nature, from swimming in a natural mountain pool to finding mushrooms. The part about hang-gliding is a lot of fun, and there are edge-of-your-seat moments during white-water rafting. But besides all this, there are surprises too, like a waterfall that lands them on a lone island. Will they be rescued? Even though there is some suspense, there is nothing too scary here, as a helpful ranger gets them back to their campsite and they have a starlit meal. And what is camping without s'mores?
This story ends well and safely for young readers, with a special concern for parents who may not want little ones exposed to too much danger and scares. This is an entertaining story that can be read together during the day or at bedtime. The phrasing is simple, with soothing rhymes and cute, lively pictures to excite the imagination. Among the friends that our protagonists make are Jack the boy, Coco the dog, and other assorted and interesting characters. When Fred the Snake and Friends Go Camping by Peter Cotton would be the perfect book to read just before a child takes their first camping trip. Definitely recommended for children's reading groups or libraries.