cover image Camels Don't Ski

Camels Don't Ski

Francesca Simon, Ailie Busby, Fransesca Simon. Sterling Publishing (NY), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-899607-59-4

A camel who complains constantly about her personal comfort provides an opportunity for comic moralizing in this quirky tale. As in Calling All Toddlers (reviewed above), Simon once again displays her on-target humor, this time with a reluctant member of a desert caravan, Calamity, who totes cumbersome loads, ""up to the Malabar sand-dunes, down to the Blue Oasis.... Back and forth, back and forth Calamity trudged through the heat and the dust."" Calamity is miserable, moaning that her load is too heavy; she's hot, thirsty, has aching feet and wobbly legs. In a fit, she informs her sister Madge and the other camels that she's giving up the heat for a ski holiday: ""I'm a cold weather camel."" While the first part of the book describes her litany of desert blues, the second half uses humorously similar phrasing to chronicle her plight in the mountains: ""Up to the top of the mountain, down to the bottom.... Up and up she trudged through the snow and the sleet."" Busby's relaxed, insouciant drawings are bright and cheery, and she has a witty sense of composition (e.g., when Calamity barrels down the ski slope, the penguins and walruses, also on skis, are shown in her wake, sprawled out on the snow and dazed). A droll take on the grass-is-greener theme. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)