'Orlando the Marmelade Cat - A Camping Holiday' remains one of the most visually rewarding of the Orlando books with amazingly innovative illustrations and fantastic attention to detail. A strong wildlife theme runs through most of the pictures (with newts, tadpoles and frogs infesting the margins) and there are beautiful period touches. The overall effect is to summon up an arcadian English countryside which has long disappeared and remains much mourned.
'Camping Holiday' was published in 1938, the first of the Orlando series, and thankfully concentrates on the graphics rather than the text. The turgid storylines and leaden writing that often let down later books in the series (although I guess it's a matter of taste) are completely absent from 'Camping Holiday' and the narrative is short and fast with a series of minor adventures that even a three year old will find absorbing.
'Camping Holiday' was not the author's favourite - this honour was reserved for 'Orlando buys a dog' which is more sophisticated in it's visual representations (and heavier on the text). But it remains a personal favourite of mine - partly because of a love of the subject matter (wildlife, tents, orange cats) but mostly because of the sumptuous pictures which have an innocent timeless quality about them which moves toddlers as well as adults. There's even a fantastic map - ideal for training future hikers in the art of map reading!