Get off that Camel follows the story of Meena, who gets a cuddly toy camel when she is a baby. And, she loves the camel so much. So much so, that she refuses to sleep without it. As Meena grows, so does her affection and dependence on the ‘camel’. She then gets a rocking camel and finally a real one!
The short and snappy lines that take the story forward are lyrical and musical in a sense which makes the reading experience very enjoyable. Quite expectedly, as Meena’s obsession increases and reaches a worrying state, people just tell her one thing- Get off that Camel!
But, Meena is not a child to pay heed to what others say. For me, this is the most endearing aspect of Get off that Camel. Books normally portray ‘good’ children as those who ‘listen to elders’. I am glad that Meena has her own mind! In her own way, she is an assertive child, and I feel she is a positive role model for younger children.
As the story moves forward, Meena realises that her obstinate approach is making the camel unhappy. Then comes a moment of self-realization, when she makes a crucial decision and decides to let the camel be where he is most happy- in the stable.
The manner in which this realization has been portrayed in the book is beautiful and poignant. The strength of the book lies in a captivating storyline, wonderful illustrations that bring the story alive on the pages, and capturing of the varied emotions that mark Meena’s journey and her self-growth.
There is also an element of humour that runs throughout the entire story. This humour comes out through the storyline, the illustrations and the ending as well, making it a funny book to read and savour.
I think that Get off that Camel by A.H. Benjamin is an enchanting and enjoyable picture book for young children. As they read and re-read the book over time, there will be something new that they can take-away!
Title: Get off that Camel
Author: A.H. Benjamin
Illustrator: Krishna Bala Shenoi
Publisher: Karadi Tales
Genre: picture book
Age group: 3-6 years