Book Review: Sweet Briar Goes to Camp
It’s Book Sharing Monday from Smiling Like Sunshine! We read a lot of books in this family and I love hearing from other parents when they come across a book that their kids liked. So, I’m going to be adding weekly posts about books that my kids recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across that might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing.
My oldest son’s current favorite book is Sweet Briar Goes to Camp, written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by LeUyen Pham.
It’s about Sweet Briar, a young skunk, and her experiences at her first summer camp. Before Sweet Briar leaves for camp, she is worried about fitting in and making friends, but her parents reassure her. She does make friends and fits in well, but she notices a porcupine named Petal who is not fitting in. As the other animal children make jokes at Petal’s expense and exclude her from activities, Petal makes good-natured, if a bit self-deprecating jokes. She does notice what is happening, but is also comfortable enough in her skin to be different and not be angry at the others.
Sweet Briar acts with respect as she explores what it is like to picture herself in another person’s shoes. She doesn’t laugh with the others’ jokes. Instead, she observes Petal and decides she likes this happy porcupine. At the end of the book, the animals have craft time. Sweet Briar makes a pine cone version of Petal and gives it to her. When one of the others questions her, she says she likes Petal because “She has a nice smile, a pretty voice, she’s funny, and she makes me laugh.” Petal has made flowers for each of the girls and they become friends.
My sons summed it up: almost 5 year old son says, “Sweet Briar made everyone friends for what is on the insidey-ness.” My almost 3 year old said, “Skunk Briar was friends with everybody!”
I really like the messages of this book. Everyone can be accepted for who they are without compromising themselves. It’s okay to take a chance and like someone else, even when you have worries about being accepted. Even those who were making fun of Petal were accepted and forgiven without any shaming or blaming.