A lushly illustrated and well-written story with a big heart and a noble purpose.



The illustrated tale of a beautiful alpaca that develops a mysterious disease.

Destiny is the newest arrival at the alpaca farm, and his owners are soon captivated by his spirited, inquisitive disposition. What’s more, with his perfect form and lustrous, caramel-colored fleece, they are certain that he will be a prize winner in the show ring as well as provide soft and silky yarn for knitting. The other males in the herd quickly accept Destiny, and he grazes and sleeps contentedly beside them. But, in a kind of reverse of the ugly duckling theme, one morning his owner finds him curled up on the ground, shivering in his suddenly patchy coat, and surrounding Destiny are “tiny mountains of champagne silk.” The vet diagnoses Destiny with alopecia and explains that although Destiny is healthy, something has triggered his immune system to cause his fleece to fall out. With his strange new appearance, the herd shuns him, and Destiny becomes a dejected outcast. But soon after, when the herd finds itself in perilous danger, Destiny triumphs and proves his mettle in a clever and endearing ending. The story’s seamless flow and vivid, imaginative descriptions are perfect for young readers: “The alpacas were round-bodied and puffy—cotton balls glued upon an artist’s landscape,” and the young alpaca “chanced a few wooden steps on matchstick legs” and then “collapsed like a marionette.” The lovely illustrations, rendered in soft, muted colors, are well-suited to the story and ably support the writing. Destiny’s affliction provides a springboard for an informative discussion about a disease that, according to the book, affects “1.7% of all people.” The story will bring comfort to those who have had to either struggle with a disability or support someone in their effort to overcome an obstacle. Included is a helpful glossary as well as interesting facts about alpacas with accompanying photographs. Additional resources for teachers and parents are downloadable and available online.

A lushly illustrated and well-written story with a big heart and a noble purpose.

Pub Date: April 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-1601310644

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2010

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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