Book review: Jamal’s Journey, by Michael Foreman

Foreman, Michael. Jamal’s Journey. Andersen Press, 2017. $17.99. unp. ISBN 978-1-5124-3949-6. Ages 5-8. P7Q7

Soft double-page watercolor and pencil illustrations highlight the sweet story of a young camel separated in a sandstorm from his parents and owners. Jamel, the root Arabic word for “camel” that means “beauty,” becomes more and more afraid until a falcon leads him back to safety. That would be enough for a quality story, but Foreman tacks on their journey into a bustling marketplace in Dubai and an imaginary future.

Verdict: Although the culture of the desert may be of interest to young readers, there is little suspense, and little ones may find the book a bit slow. Discovering the caravan would also have made a far better ending because the city scene appears to be an afterward. The colors of the background are rich, but the specific drawings are a bit rough.

April 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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