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Camels Don't Ski Hardcover – December 31, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A camel who complains constantly about her personal comfort provides an opportunity for comic moralizing in this quirky tale. As in Calling All Toddlers (reviewed above), Simon once again displays her on-target humor, this time with a reluctant member of a desert caravan, Calamity, who totes cumbersome loads, "up to the Malabar sand-dunes, down to the Blue Oasis.... Back and forth, back and forth Calamity trudged through the heat and the dust." Calamity is miserable, moaning that her load is too heavy; she's hot, thirsty, has aching feet and wobbly legs. In a fit, she informs her sister Madge and the other camels that she's giving up the heat for a ski holiday: "I'm a cold weather camel." While the first part of the book describes her litany of desert blues, the second half uses humorously similar phrasing to chronicle her plight in the mountains: "Up to the top of the mountain, down to the bottom.... Up and up she trudged through the snow and the sleet." Busby's relaxed, insouciant drawings are bright and cheery, and she has a witty sense of composition (e.g., when Calamity barrels down the ski slope, the penguins and walruses, also on skis, are shown in her wake, sprawled out on the snow and dazed). A droll take on the grass-is-greener theme. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-Calamity hates heat, sun, sand, and carrying heavy loads. She is also bored with her daily routine and decides to take a cold weather holiday-she goes skiing. Predictably, the camel is as unhappy in the snowy cold as she had been in the desert heat: her ski equipment is heavy, trudging uphill is exhausting and tedious, and, worst of all, she's freezing. Returning home to her familiar environs, she finds that it isn't so bad after all. This tale of a more than usually kvetchy camel is illustrated with lighthearted pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork, with animals trudging, mugging, and cavorting on backgrounds varying from desert yellows and golds to the chilly blues and white of the mountains. Throughout, the facial expressions on Calamity and her friends manage to be both very camel-like and very funny. Unfortunately, the text does not match the direct humor of the illustrations: there is more repetition of Calamity's complaining than is necessary to make the point, and the use of boldface to indicate speech and different sized fonts to indicate emphasis bombards the eye much as Calamity's whining tries readers' patience.
Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Gullane Children's Books (December 31, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899607595
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899607594
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She now lives in London with her family. She has written over 45 books and won the Children's Book of the Year in 2008 at the Galaxy British Book Awards for "Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman".

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