The Wooden Camel – Wanuri Kahiu, illustrated by Manuela Adreani

  The Wooden Camel – Wanuri Kahiu, illustrated by Manuela Adreani, Lantana Publishing, (9781911373131), 2017

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture Book

What did you like about the book? “Etabo dreams about racing camels. He thinks it will feel like flying. He knows he will surely beat his older brother Lopeyok when they race.” But Etabo, who is one of the Turkana people of north-west Kenya, is very small and the day will be far –off – and then impossible as the family is forced to sell all their camels to buy water. There are goats to look after with his siblings until they must go to work leaving Etabo to care for the goats alone. Akuj, the Sky God, keeps telling Etabo that his dreams are enough. His sister carves a set of wooden camels for Etabo so he can race them all he wants. This gift from his sister will enable him to hold onto his dreams until he can make them reality. Simple, yet beautiful, illustrations bring the story and Kenya to life.

Anything you did not like about this book? Not a thing.

To whom would you recommend this book? The story could be used to present the cultures of other countries to young children and to open discussions about holding onto one’s dreams.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and lower elementary grade libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not quite, but original, lovely and effective.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 7/6/2017

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