March 24, 2018

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The Wooden Camel by Wanuri Kahiu | SLJ Review

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redstarKAHIU, Wanuri. The Wooden Camel. illus. by Manuela Adreani. 32p. Lantana. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781911373131.

K-Gr 2 –Etabo dreams of racing camels, even though his siblings think he is much too small to ever accomplish this. It is devastating news to Etabo when his father informs them he will have to sell the camels so they can have money for water. Instead of fulfilling his dreams, Etabo is sent to watch over the goats. One goat, Keti, brings him some entertainment, but he doesn’t provide the thrill Etabo is looking for. When camels are no longer in his future, he searches for an alternative. “So instead Etabo tries to ride…Chickens…Cats…And even Keti…But none of them will have it.” After a kind gesture from Etabo’s sister and a repeated message from Akuj the Sky God, Etabo realizes that dreams can take many forms and can always be adjusted. This evocative story, illustrated by Adreani, transports readers to the desert of northwestern Kenya with sweeping landscape images and dreamlike spreads. VERDICT The beautiful illustrations and message about resilience will resonate with a variety of readers young and old. Perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.–Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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