Koobla the Camel
by Nancy Walker
Trafford Publishing

"Please, I really, really wish that I could be something else"

Reminiscent of a classic like The Wizard of Oz, with a touch of The Ugly Duckling blended in, award-winning children's author Nancy Walker weaves a simple story around a young camel's daydreams of wishing he were something he is not. Ultimately, beginning readers will come to realize that Koobla's best sense of self is revealed when he accepts himself as the camel he is.

As a constant reminder of his sleepy, imaginative state, within a framed backdrop of clouds, Koobla is ideally depicted as a heavy-lidded, docile creature, and the same image is pictured on every other page throughout the book. Juxtaposing the smiling, sedate dromedary are contrasting images of Koobla's antics and adventures. The delightful storyline introduces us to an array of characters. From trumpeting elephants to sticky-tongued aardvarks, stampeding ants to a pride of miffed lions, Walker invites us into a wild, wacky, whimsical animal world.

Illustrations created by Dindo Contento are bright and vivid. The action-packed drawings hint at Saturday morning cartoon animation, or boldly outlined coloring book drawings, complete with a collection of characters that laugh, growl, and kick up dust. Talk bubbles and expressive faces not only anthropomorphize Walker's comical creatures, they artfully serve to keep the rapid pace of this short tale that promotes belonging, identity, and family.

When a beloved Dorothy awakened in Kansas after her adventures in Oz, she confirmed what she probably already knew, "there’s no place like home." When Koobla awakens under the stars, he begs to be a camel again. Clearly both light-hearted narratives carry parallel moral threads. Hopefully lessons that will linger in the minds of young readers for years to come.

Return to USR Home