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.
Our household has a passion for reading and it is always a wonderful way to spend time as a family, especially before bedtimes. My children have always been read at least one book a day while growing up, picture books are a favourite, especially with my 3 year old. When I saw KIWIreviews had 'Bambi the Blind Alpaca' available to request, I put my request in as the cover and description really caught my attention. Upon opening the review package I saw a copy and showed my children, who instantly decided that this was to be the nighttime story.
When it came time to read we observed the front and back covers first, immediately the children had fallen in love with the 2 alpacas on the front cover, because they looked happy and friendly.
The colours of the illustrations are very soft, but they compliment each other well and are eye-catching. The children were surprised to see that the story about Bambi the alpaca is based on a true story. After reading the blurb on the back cover, the children became worried that Bambi would be too sad without his brother Charisma, we got comfy and sat down to share the story.
The story starts off happy as we are introduced to Bambi and his brother, they were best friends who went everywhere together until one day Bambi's brother went away. The story uses a lot of descriptive words that help to make the story come to life, the illustrations helped the children's imagination as the story progressed.
The children were quite sad when we got to the pages where Bambi looked very upset and was having trouble getting places, however once Renaldo was introduced to the story they became less worried. Like most good children's picture books there was a happy ending, and I found the information about alpacas at the back of the book provided an insight into an animal I previously knew very little about.
This book came at a good time for us personally, as my children have just started a new school which has a friendly little girl that is blind. This is a lovely book that I think is aimed at younger children, we are interested to see if the author has written any more books.
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.
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