Destiny's Purpose

Shannon Cassidy-Rouleau, illus. by Dennis Auth, Big Tent Books (www.bigtentbooks.com), $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-60131-064-4
In a palpably affectionate narrative, Cassidy-Rouleau introduces a young alpaca who's the darling of Peter and Nora's herd. "I tell you, he's destined for great things," Peter tells his wife after the animal—named Destiny—is born to an alpaca known for her fleece. But when Destiny contracts alopecia and loses his fleece, his owners' dreams are dashed. Yet his purpose becomes clear when he sounds an alert that saves the other alpacas from wolves and assumes the role of guardian to "less than perfect" newcomers to the herd. The author, who raises alpacas in Ontario, can't resist a couple of plugs for alpaca fleece ("I've heard it's softer than wool and many times warmer," says one of Nora's customers), but the theme of acceptance is delivered gently. Auth's delicately outlined full-bleed watercolors are nicely suited to the bucolic setting, and readers will identify both with Destiny's upset over being cast out from the herd and his growing confidence. Back matter includes details about alpacas and alopecia, as well as a glossary, making this an intriguing insider's look at the animals and a reminder that some talents require looking below the surface. Ages 6–12.
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
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