A young alpaca learns how important her fleece is to humans.
“High up in the Andes, on a mountain in Peru, / Pati the alpaca gussied up for her debut.” Pati is off to meet her classmates by a lake. And right away the problems with this book present themselves. The story is a two-pronged one. On the one side is a story with a puritanical lesson that finds fault with Pati’s wanting to look her best, and Pati soon learns that she will be a better being if she willingly gives up her fleece to help humans keep warm. The second intent of the story seems to be to introduce children to Spanish words. Unfortunately, the meanings of the Spanish words sprinkled through the text are not obvious, forcing readers to flip back and forth between the story and the glossary at the end. For example: “One day, cría Carmen whispered, “Pati, ¡no te creas! / In the spring we lose our fur and then we’ll all be feas!” The illustrations are also problematic. With an emphasis on the cute and colorful, the images represent an Andean scenery of lush, fresh greens. Nothing could be more removed from the harsh environment that exists at these high altitudes.
Skip it. (glossary, author’s note, additional facts) (Picture book. 5-7)