Azad’s Camel

Azad’s Camel by Erika Pal is a dark, serious story that nonetheless has a happy ending (though it may still be a bit too unsettling for some children). Booklist: “In an Arabian city, a rich sheikh buys an athletic little orphan boy, Azad, and forces him to work as a camel jockey. Azad hates the dangerous work, and he is frightened by the shouting crowds at the racetrack and by the camels blazing speed. Then his camel, Asfur, begins to talk to him, and they plan an escape: after they cross the finish line, they keep running, all the way through the city until at last they reach the desert and find a home with a loving Bedouin community. The uncluttered double-page spreads in watercolor and ink show the bond between the boy and camel, first in the modern city streets with limousines and skyscrapers, and then in the wide-open desert under the endless sky. A final note talks about the smuggling of children who are forced to race camels today. Young people will be moved by the fast action and the shocking cruelty as well as the touching drama of the brave young athlete’s strong connection with his camel.” Giggle factor: not applicable; this story teaches empathy instead. Adult enjoyment: depends. Illustrations: four jelly jars.

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~ by kaychubbuck on May 29, 2011.

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