Book review: Jamal’s Journey, by Michael Foreman

Foreman, Michael. Jamal’s Journey. Anderson Press, 2017. Unpaged. ISBN 9781512439496. Ages 4-9. P7Q7

Jamal is a little camel, who has to walk, walk, walk everywhere. He envies his mama and baba who have long legs, and the falcons who get carried everywhere unless they are flying. It’s hard for a little camel to keep up. Then a dust storm comes, and Jamal gets separated from his family. He’s afraid and tries to find help from the desert animals. Finally, a falcon comes and leads him toward the great city where he finds his family again. Jamal gains some confidence through this experience, and realizes that the world is more than just sand. I enjoyed the soft, warm illustrations, especially the ones that contrast the desert, the big city, and the marketplace. I especially enjoyed this book because it made me think about my time in Saudi Arabia and the many dust storms I experienced there.

VERDICT: This is a pleasant story with a nice ending. It will work well as a read aloud, and could be used when talking about other areas of the world or about country vs. city life.

February 2018 review by Carol Schramm.

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.