Authors: Ken and Angie Lake
Illustrators: Vishnu Madhav and Joyson Loitongbam
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78226-029-5

Little toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
Robin’s grandpa casts his magic spell on the toy in Ken and Angie Lake’s story, Clarence the Camel.

Targeted toward preschool to middle school aged children, this small paperback is part of “The Diaries of Robin’s Toys” ten-book series. With no scary or violent scenes, it is ideal to be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having different punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules in the United Kingdom, the format may confuse American readers. Written on notebook-looking lined paper with easy-to-read font, the black and white illustrations by Madhav and Loitongbam are simplistic yet understandable.

In this educational short tale, Robin is sad that he only came in fourth place during sports week at school, especially because he told his friends he was the fastest runner. Grandad stops by and takes him to the car boot sale (similar to a swap meet in America), where the young boy is allowed to pick out one toy. Robin picks out a unique little toy camel and Grandad casts a special spell on it, knowing it has an interesting story to tell.

Well-traveled Clarence the camel explains he is from Saudi Arabia, a desert region. He tells them the differences between Bactrians, Dromedaries, and the rumored Humphry.

Clarence continues his story that a sheik owned him and he had told all his camel friends he was a fast runner. The sheik let him go to a special resort for top racing camels, but he was not fast enough so had to be sent home. Broken-hearted, he felt ashamed for boasting but his friends give him a warm welcome. Later he helps the sheik out of a problem, giving him Royal Camel status.

Learning from the camel, Robin recognizes that he was prideful, telling everyone he was the best runner. Later when he volunteers to organize sports week, he receives great joy.

By teaching not to be boastful, this book not only focuses on helping others, it provides information on camels that is fun and interesting. Children will enjoy reading how a toy’s story reveals engaging educational information while teaching an important lesson.

Thanks to the publisher and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.