Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder & Emily Hughes, 48 pp,

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors
illustrated by Emily Hughes
Review Copy from Chronicle Books
Book four in this fantastic series that perfectly straddles the world of picture books and beginning readers finds these siblings stuck in the backseat as they head out on a camping trip with mom and dad. Over the course of four chapters, they make up a story to beat boredom, find some great sticks and defend themselves from monsters as they hike the path, fight fear as they wait alone in the tent by conjuring up imaginary kittens (because kittens are never scary) and finally toast marshmallows and feel the joy and comfort of being with family as they gather around the campfire. 
While I definitely love the chapter titled, "Kittens," I think that the first chapter, "Boring," is my favorite. Bored, Dad tells Charlie to make up a story because, "Stories aren't boring." I love the simple but powerful way Snyder shows the act of storytelling: how an idea is discovered, building on an idea, the challenge of of keeping the story going and the joy of becoming immersed in the story itself. As always, Snyder and Hughes make these gentle, thoughtful, fun stories about siblings unforgettable with both humor and sweetness, in text and illustrations. I hope that this series continues - I love reading these books as much as my students! We have three library copies of each book in the series and they are always checked out.

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