cover image We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road

We're Riding on a Caravan: An Adventure on the Silk Road

Laurie Krebs, , illus. by Helen Cann. . Barefoot, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-84148-343-6

Lilting verse and multipatterned illustrations follow one family's arduous, yet fascinating yearlong, 2,000-mile caravan trip over China's Silk Road. The opening lines become a refrain ("We're riding on a caravan, a bumpy, humpy caravan,/ We're riding on a caravan to places far away") that undulates across the bottom of every spread. A multi-generational family, together with camels, donkeys, oxen and wagons all piled high with silken wares, leaves their hometown, Xi'an, in summer, traveling west to Lanzhou and across the Yellow River. When they finally reach Kashgar, they trade their goods at the famous Sunday market. Cann's (The Lady of Ten Thousand Names ) full-bleed watercolors capture the changing landscapes and architecture styles along the journey. The variety of fabric patterns, pots and baskets emphasize the mingling of numerous cultures in Kashgar, while details such as leaves that resemble peacock feathers add a touch of whimsy. Krebs's (We All Went on Safari ) verse, though often constrained to fit the rhyme scheme, brims with telling details ("Five months ago we reached Hami, worn out and sick and cold./ For winter in the desert was as harsh as we'd been told./ We warmed ourselves with goat-head soup and steaming cups of tea/ And rested there for several days before we left Hami"). A map of the Silk Road and informative sections on the history of silk and the Silk Road's major cities conclude this attractive volume. Ages 5-7. (Sept.)