Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Camel Rider by Prue Mason

This was recommended to me by my public librarian, and I enjoyed it. Books set in the Middle East are obviously timely, and this is a good action/adventure/survival book as well.

Adam puts his passport in with his traveling father's luggage so that he does not have to return to Australia with his mother, but can spend a few more days in the airline compound in Abudai where his family has been living. Unfortunately, shortly after his mother leaves, the city is attacked, a war is started, and he must evacuate with another family. He makes the additional unwise choice of leaving them so he can return for his dog.

Walid, a boy connected with a group of camel racers, unhobbles a valuable camel when the bombing starts. The camel ends up breaking its leg and having to be shot, so Walid is going to be sold to other slavers.

Both boys meet up in the desert and try to make their way back to the city. It is hard for them to communicate, which is portrayed realistically in the book. Using different typefaces, we know what each boy is thinking.

Not only do the boys have to survive in the desert, the men who are after Walid follow them, and there are good case scenes and a lot of details about cultural differences that the boys find. The ending is happy, if a little pat.

This is a good addition to a multicultural collection. Several of my reluctant readers are enjoying Deborah Ellis' The Breadwinner, and this is my next choice for them.

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