Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Small Camel Follows the Star

One of our family's favorite Christmas books is Rachel W.N. Brown's Small Camel Follows the StarLovely Middle-Eastern illustrations by Giuliano Ferri accompany Brown's sweet story about a young camel who wonders about his place in the world.

When Small Camel's mother is chosen to lead Balthazar's caravan in search of a new king, Small Camel wonders what will happen to him.  Imagine Small Camel's joyous surprise when Balthazar asks him to carry a special bundle and accompany the caravan on the journey.  Small Camel won't be separated from his mother, and he has an important role to play. 

Through Mama's encouragement, Small Camel learns to trust Balthazar and persevere, even though the journey is long and winds through unfamiliar territory.  As the caravan joins with wise men, Gaspar and Melchior, new bundles are added to Small Camel's pack.  When the star finally hovers over a village, only Small Camel is asked to accompany Balthazar to the home of little Jesus.  Small Camel is delighted to realize he has been carrying presents for the king!

What I Like:  I can't decide whether I love the message or illustrations in this book more.  This book is especially powerful for little ones who may wonder about their place in their family. My youngest daughter, especially, asks for this book over and over.  Small Camel is an encouraging example of how important even the littlest person (camel) can be. When Small Camel is tired and has sore feet, Mama's gentle words help him feel better, and Balthazar's confidence in Small camel is particularly powerful.

The illustrations are beautiful, and historically accurate.  Little Jesus is portrayed as a brown-skinned, Middle-Eastern-looking toddler, which corresponds not only to the place of his birth, but to the biblical timeline of the three wise men's visit.  The setting is portrayed as dusty and sandy, with lots of brown and gold undertones. 
What I Dislike:  Nothing

Overall Rating:  Excellent

Age Appeal:  Three and up

Publisher Info: Albert Whitman and Company, 2007; ISBN: 978-080-757-4539 ; Hardcover, 32 pages., $16.95

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $13.49
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $14.34.

Special Note:  Although the hardcover price is a bit expensive, there is a less expensive, paperback Scholastic Edition available through Scholastic booksellers.  

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