Back in 2003, after I began writing a weekly column on RVing for The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), a delightful children’s book crossed my desk — A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee (Chronicle Books, 2003, ISBN: 0-8118-3603-7).
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, ‘Camping Spree’ is a terrific read-aloud picture book for every young child’s library, RVer or not. (Especially good for grandparents to take along on a first camping trip with their young grandchildren.)
Van Dusen’s rhyming, brilliantly-illustrated story details a camping trip with Mr. Magee and his trusty dog, Dee. The plot combines an inquisitive near-sighted bear, a runaway teardrop trailer and a couple of other light-hearted misadventures.
The 50’s retro style and setting in ‘Camping Spree’ gives a magical realism to Van Dusen’s nostalgic story.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved those 1950s Teardrop trailers,” said Van Dusen in a telephone interview shortly after the book was published, “so I modeled Mr. Magee’s trailer after them.”
Book cover courtesy of Chronicle Books.