A tender new story from the award-winning creator of Julián Is a Mermaid celebrates first-time camping, father-child bonding, and feeling at one with the universe.

Product Code: 9113
ISBN: 9781536212396
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 40
Published Date: 04/04/2023
Availability:In stock
Price: $18.99

We’re going camping, you and me.”
“Where?” I ask.
“The desert,” says Dad . . . “To shake hands with the universe.”

Going to bed each night can be dark and scary. The night sky stretches out endlessly, making one sensitive child feel small in comparison. So Dad comes up with a plan: a night of camping out in the desert. Together, the two load up Darlin’, the old pickup truck, and drive over the mountain with the radio on, stopping to shoot the breeze at a junkyard before setting up camp, jumping in sand dunes, and lying back to name all the birds they can see. After sunset, when the young thinker feels tiny against the vast sky, Dad knows just what to ask—and just what to say—to soothe away fears. Maybe this night spent under the stars (and a surprise from Mom and the baby later) are just what is needed to show that the universe is a friendly place.

From acclaimed author-illustrator Jessica Love comes a story of small moments between father and child that affirms the comfort of finding one’s place in the world.

Ages 4 to 8.

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At breakfast, our protagonist’s father announces that they are going camping in the desert. Why? “To shake hands with the universe,” says Dad. . . . It’s a heavy contemplation of the very nature of being, and yet Love makes it entirely kid-friendly. A gentle specificity easily merges the conceptual with the corporeal. . . . Young listeners who tend to be more introspective than rambunctious will appreciate this soothing rumination on the nature of existence and the accepting of the unknowable. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books(starred review)

When the child confesses to being frightened by “how big the universe is and how it goes on forever and ever,” Dad knows just what to say. . . . It’s a gem of a moment, an example of the way a parent can hear and transform a child’s fear. . . . Mom shares another surprise in this tender story about learning to approach that which feels unknown. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Under the desert night sky, Dad helps his child find cosmic comfort. . . . A lovely vision for small, sensitive existentialists. —Kirkus Reviews

The universe is all around us and the stars are there every night to shine for us is the message Dad seeks to share with his young child who is afraid of the dark. . . .This is a warm story about driving away bedtime fears. The soft sketches and use of colors enhance each scene and informational labels are applied during the teaching moments of the story. —School Library Connection

Love’s watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations include both factual information (the steps to build a fire) and warm, loving scenes of the father and child together. . . . The desire for one-on-one attention from a parent is one many children will relate to. —The Horn Book

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