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EXILED by Kathleen Karr


Memoirs of a Camel

by Kathleen Karr

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7614-5164-1
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

In the tradition of Robert Lawson, a fascinating (if short-lived) chapter of US military history is brought to life by a most unusual narrator. His mother reared Ali the camel in the ancient city of Karnak to feel all appropriate pride in his heritage. Her message to him, in the event of capture: “Work, but never surrender.” When he is inevitably captured, he makes himself so difficult that he’s sold to the US Army in 1856 to become one of the new US Camel Corps. Working, but never surrendering, he and his camel comrades make their way from “Texas-America” to “California-America,” Ali always plotting the moment for his escape. Ali tells his tale with the certainty of innate superiority, his voice an endearing combination of noblesse oblige and eagerness, peppered with just the right number of “Humph!”s. Karr presents a full cast of supporting characters, both camel and human, who provide the narrative tension that runs underneath the story: how does Ali reconcile his drive for freedom with the regard, and even love, he feels for the men-beasts? A gem. (Fiction. 9-13)