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.