Even as an infant, Meena loved her toy camel and “never slept without it.” So when her parents get her a real camel, she rides it everywhere—even if others are inconvenienced.
She ignores repeated cries of “Get off that camel!” at school, shops, the pool, and the movies until the doctor notices the camel’s state of exhaustion and Meena compassionately agrees to keep her pet at a stable. Soon after, her parents bring a new baby brother home, and Meena happily shares her toy camel—which he loves, “never [sleeping] without it,” much to their parents’ evident dismay. With its spare narrative, this story will appeal to imaginative children, who will find humor in the outlandish situations Meena and her camel find themselves in. In a storytime setting, young listeners will likely join in on the titular refrain, “Get off that camel!” The detail-rich illustrations, providing a fanciful window into everyday life in India, encourage repeated browsing. In one amusing double-page spread, the camel farts calmly at disgusted, uniform-clad students while their teacher, who wears a sari, stands at the blackboard, aghast at the disruption. Its progress through the supermarket is viewed from above, giving readers a look at shelves knocked askew and products littering the floor in its wake. Two pages of “fun facts” about camels are included, providing information for curious readers.
This Indian import is a gentle exploration of childhood fantasy. (Picture book. 3-7)