Raj and the Best Vacation Ever!

Candlewick/Templar. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536217056.
K-Gr 2–Young tiger Raj and his father are taking a vacation, a trip that takes days of planning and luggage packed tightly into the car. Vibrant color and digital cartoon art move the action forward, following the pair as they prepare. Their small, yellow, overflowing car makes its way slowly on a zigzag map past city streets and stores, and after what seems to be a really long, long time, they arrive at their campsite. Capital letters and enlarged font emphasize Raj’s opinions. “This is going to be the best vacation EVER!” At the campsite, it’s apparent that Dad has done some of his homework, but setting up a tent isn’t simple, and working in the dark is a challenge. A series of thought bubbles allows the reader to view his anxiety while trying to solve the complex puzzle of the tent. There’s a friendly family of bears who offer to help with setting up the tent, fixing breakfasts, and guiding part of a hike, but—and this is never explained—Dad doesn’t accept their offers until he and Raj’s lives are threatened.
VERDICT A suggested general purchase, this title takes readers through the ups and downs of a first camping trip, made even better when everyone works together.

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