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AZAD'S CAMEL by Erika Pal Kirkus Star

AZAD'S CAMEL

By Erika Pal (Author) , Erika Pal (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-84507-982-6
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

A kidnapped orphan races away to freedom. In an Arabian village, a little boy named Azad, who lives with his poor elderly uncle, fetches water for tea and tends to the goat before running off to play with his friends. His gymnastics skills attract the attention of a sheikh, who offers to train the boy as a camel rider. Whisked to the desert to live with a bunch of other boys, Azad competes in dangerous races and suffers brutal discipline. He and his camel Asfur become inseparable; one day, they win a race and keep going, until the men who have oppressed them are far in the distance. Boy and camel sleep curled up together under the desert moon and awake to the smiling faces of a group of Bedouins; Azad and Asfur have found a home at last. Pal's striking illustrations in watercolor and ink position sharply delineated characters in the foreground against soft, blurry desert backgrounds. Her heart-tugging tale also folds in a succinct social-studies lesson, and a brief afterword explains the controversial "sport" of camel racing. (Picture book. 4-6)