Gr. 4-8. The actual history, found in a note at the back of the book, is fascinating: in the 1850s the U.S. army shipped camels from Egypt and tried to train them in the Texas desert, with hopes they would help the army "cope with desert terrain." Karr draws on the history, but she tells the story from the viewpoint of one brave camel, Ali, who is torn from his mother in Egypt, sold to Christians, and shipped to America to work with the Camel Corps--until the whole idea is abandoned and he escapes to blaze his own trail. History through the eye of a camel is a cute idea, perhaps for a picture book, but it's tedious here and seems contrived in a long novel, despite Karr's careful interweaving of the real events and people of the time. Even so, readers will have fun imagining the animal's physical experience with those clumsy "soldier-beasts" and "silly natives," and many will spot the parallels with slaves and indentured immigrants torn from their roots, never to return. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Kathleen Karr surprises her readers each time she finishes a book, as no two are alike. Whether she’s writing about a 15-year-old boy settling in the Carolina Colony in 1670 (Worlds Apart
) or a high-flying chase across Europe in search of stolen artwork (The 7th Knot
), she engages and exhilarates her readers. Ms. Karr’s latest novel, Born for Adventure
, takes readers deep into the heart of the African jungle. Her titles have been selected for the American Library Association’s recommended bibliographies, Notable Books for Children and Best Books for Young Adults. She and her husband, the parents of two grown children, live in a restored town house in Washington, D.C.