"ALI, CHILD OF THE DESERT" by Jonathan London


Email this review


Ali and his father are traveling by camel through the Sahara Desert to market, when a sandstorm whips up out of nowhere, separating them. Alone in the desert with his camel, Ali comes upon a Berber and his grandson, Abdul and Youssef. They share their food and water, and late in the evening Abdul tells the boys tales of his warrior days. The next morning, Ali must decide whether to accompany the Berbers to higher pastures or to wait alone in the desert for his father. Eventually, Ali and his father are reunited, the child all the wiser for his adventure. This is another rite-of-passage tale from London, similar to Old Salt, Young Salt (1996) but more serious. Wordiness, reminiscing, and lack of action aim the story at an older, more patient audience. It's a respectful tale, but formal to the point of feeling static. Lewin's watercolors capture the iridescent shifts of rainbow hues across the desert sand and sky, as day fades into night.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Lothrop