Bambi the blind alpaca spends his days happy in his paddock with his brother Charisma. Then, one day, Charisma is gone, and Bambi suddenly has to fend for himself! Bambi is sad without Charisma to show him the way. He is lonely with only sheep for company and refuses to eat. Can a new alpaca best friend be found?
Inspired by a true story.
Illustrated by Jenny Cooper.
When Miss 18 Months' parents started to read this book to her, they were thrilled to discover that they already knew the real story it was based on - so they could not wait to see her reaction too. She loves books anyway; she already has her favourites which are read over and over again, so this one is bound to become another on her must-read-again list. It is lovely to see children who are so young already responding to the written word, encouraged no doubt by the quality of the accompanying images.
Miss 18 Months loved the pictures, examining each one carefully and sometimes trying to turn a page back to look at the last picture again. The text uses lots of repetition which makes it very attractive to a younger child - pre-schoolers, even those as young as she is, very quickly learn to join in. It is pretty well mandatory that the adult reading the book with her stops before the last word of each phrase so that she can say it too. This is the first step in learning to read independently; children who have age-appropriate books read to them regularly are likely to be reading quite well long before they are ready to start school.
At the end of the book is a two-page spread with a collection of fascinating facts about alpacas. Both Miss 18 months' parents and I learned several things we had not known before. This would also be useful for an older child to know (or indeed, for Miss 18 Months herself in years to come). When I realised this, I found myself wishing that the book had been a hardback as it would be more likely to last the onslaught of little fingers - Miss 18 Months has just acquired a new brother so no doubt he too will be enjoying story time with Mum or Dad in due course!
I liked the way that the book highlighted the special friendship with Bambi and the other alpacas, his brother Charisma and then his new friend Renaldo. Although Pellet and his sheep friends did their best to cheer him up, it was clear that Bambi could not relate to them in the same way that he did to his fellow alpacas. This sent a strong message about community and belonging, expressed in a simple way so that even a small child could understand it. There is a further vital message in the book as well - about living with a disability and learning how best to manage it. And, of course, the way that friends can support someone else who is living with this disability. A powerful message indeed.
Random listing from 'Books'...
Meet New Zealand's beautiful birds, from the friendly fantail to the playful kea and the morepork, wide awake at night. Anne Hunter's delightful rhyming story introduces young readers to a number of New Zealand birds, named in both English and Maori, and beautifully illustrated by Dave Gunson.
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