The moon, garbage trucks, and books. These are a few of my 2-year-old son’s favorite things. The French poet in him will babble on about the moon and the stars all night long. The rough and tumble kid in him will play with garbage trucks for eleventy million years before getting sick of them.
Lucky for me, he still likes to settle down with a good book, giving me a few moments of peace. When he’s not eating zombie books, one series he loves is Tovi the Penguin. Full disclosure: I’m friends with the author. While my toddler can navigate computers surprisingly well (check my YouTube history for a sample), I doubt he’d be able to find this wonderful collection of books without Mommy’s help.
Just like April doesn’t fancy herself a writer (even though she wrote a story for my anthology, That’s Paris!), I don’t fancy myself a book reviewer. So instead I figured I’d do a little comparison: Tovi the Penguin Goes Camping vs. Vicki Goes Camping.
Right off the bat, Tovi gets points for actually going camping. I’ve only ever gone camping against my will, usually on family vacations. The only exception was during my hippie phase, where I’d camp out after a Phish show and hang out with people who partied often and bathed rarely. So Tovi wins for actually packing up and heading into the wilderness. Then again, he’s a penguin so I’m guessing being outdoors doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers this city girl. Round #1: Tovi: 1, Vicki: 0.
Next, they set up camp and eat marshmallows. Again, Tovi wins this round. I love me some marshmallows, but not when I’m camping. You want me to pick up a STICK that’s been on the GROUND and then eat off of it? And the thing you want me to eat is mushy and sticky and there’s not a sink around? No thanks. Round #2: Tovi: 2, Vicki: 0.
Then, Tovi and his friends think they see a bear. A BEAR? See, this is why I don’t go camping. One time I went camping in upstate New York with my dad and brother. The rangers handed us a pamphlet warning us to keep the food locked in the trunk of the car, as opposed to our tent, so the bears couldn’t get it. So let me get this straight: I’m OUTSIDE, with NO FOOD, and a VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY of seeing a bear, and I’m somehow supposed to think this is enjoyable? Points to Tovi on this one, too, for toughing out the night and not trying to steal his dad’s car and drive back to civilization (not that I know anything about that). Round #3: Tovi: 3, Vicki: 0.
Tovi and his friends tough out the night, and decide to leave first thing in the morning. Finally a decision I can get on board with! Round #4: Tovi: 0, Vicki: 0.
So if the question was “Who’s a better camper?” the answer is: Tovi wins 3-0 compared to me.
If the question is, “Which children’s book does Vicki enjoy reading to her kids?” the answer is: Tovi the Penguin! Though I think I might have more in common with Tovi the Penguin Goes to London or Tovi the Penguin Goes Away for Christmas.
About Vicki Lesage: An American author, living in Paris
A midwest native, I currently live in Paris, where I indulge in wine when I’m not busy working or having babies. IT Director by day, I squeeze in writing wherever I can, from blog posts to books. My common theme is complaining about France but as an equal opportunist I complain about plenty of other things as well. I love fondue, wine, math, and zombies. Everything’s better with zombies.