THE HAPPY DROMEDARY by Berniece Freschet
Kirkus Star


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How the dromedary became just so is recounted with charm and sense, depicted with Rounds' most engaging wit, and, for a plus, Freschet's dromedary--not a mother, simply ""the dromedary""--is a she. Her development occurs ""millions and millions of years ago"" when the king of the animals--a lion in crown and robes, and the scraggliest king you'll see--gives all the birds and beasts their choice of where to live and the dromedary picks the desert. (In Rounds' view it's an American, cactus-bearing desert, but never mind.) Soon though, the dromedary has to go back to the king for large, flat, floppy feet to suit walking on sand. . . and then for a hump (capped with an unkempt patch of hair) to store food and water. But the other animals laugh at her ungainly looks; she wants to change back; whereupon the king, wise after all if a bit disgruntled, simply stretches her neck, pushes back her nose, and behold! when they laugh again, she's the picture of disdain. In step (perfectly) with the story, Rounds' scraggly camel is in turn bone weary, hopeful, dejected, complacent, pathetically sad, at last triumphant--and you're in on the transition. She'd be show enough and more, but you have to see the draggle-tailed cock, the slouching bear, the hee-hawing horse, goat and turtle. . . the whole inspired cast.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1977
Publisher: Scribners