CAMEL RIDER by Prue Mason


Age Range: 10 - 13
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First-novelist Mason makes an auspicious debut with this Australian import about two boys from disparate cultures who form a bond under harrowing circumstances. Twelve-year-old Australian Adam, and his parents live in a housing compound for foreigners in a fictional Middle-Eastern country. When war breaks out suddenly, Adam is alone and must evacuate with neighbors. He eludes them in a desperate effort to return to rescue his dog. Meanwhile, young “camel rider,” or jockey, Walid is trussed and left to die in the mountains by his abusive owners. How these two find each other and connect, making their way to safety despite daunting linguistic and cultural barriers and the forbidding desert and deadly heat, makes for a fast-paced, exciting read. The boys’ respective dialogue and musings are initially defined by alternately told chapters and changes in fonts. Once they meet, subsequent chapters intersperse these fonts, emphasizing their misunderstanding of each other, sometimes to comical effect. Immediacy is achieved with first-person, present-tense narration. Though the ending is pat and some characters aren’t well defined, there’s more than enough here to sustain interest and to open readers’ eyes to a way of life they’ll hardly believe actually exists. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58089-314-5
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2007