Camp Tiger by Susan Choi; illustrated by John Rocco. 2019. Watercolor sketch, wash pencil, and added the color digitally. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Brief summary: A young boy and his family go on vacation right before school starts back up. His brother will be in fourth, and he will be in first. He does not want to be in first grade and hopes the annual camping trip at Mountain Pond never ends. All the usual animals are there. He finds a single red leaf on the forest’s ground foreshadowing that change is coming.
As they set up their tent, the entire family stops as an orange tiger walks out of the brush and talks to them. The family sets up a tent for the tiger where it goes to sleep. The boy goes in and lies down next to the tiger and talks to him. The tiger hangs out with the family the entire time. The tiger leaves without saying good-bye. The boy is sad and worries about it as the family drives home with a falling of orange leaves from the trees sprinkling the top of the car.
Comments: I think this would be a great read aloud for teachers, school librarians, and parents to their kindergartner going into first grade or whenever a child has to take the next life step. The illustrations are wonderful with earth tones and the brilliance of the tiger’s markings.