HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Kami and the Yaks
Author: Andrea Stenn Stryer
Illustrator: Bert Dodson
Publisher: Bay Otter Press, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0977896103 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0977896102 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0977896110 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0977896110 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 5 – 7
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stryer, Andrea Stenn. Kami and the Yaks (published in 2007 by Bay Otter Press, an imprint of New Spectrum Inc., P. O. Box 20492, Palo Alto, CA 94309). Have you ever seen a yak? Do you even know what it is? Kami is a young boy who lives with his Sherpa family in the Himalaya region of Nepal. His father and older brother Norgay earn their living by guiding, setting up camp, and cooking for mountain climbers, and they are supposed to be starting a trek at sunrise. However, their four yaks, buffalo-like animals which they use as beasts of burden to carry all their equipment, didn’t come down from the mountain by themselves and are missing. Kami sees the torches on the slopes where Father and Norgay are searching, but he thinks that they are going in the wrong direction because the yaks like the meadow near the monk’s lodge. A bad storm is coming, so Kami sets off to see if he can find the yaks.
But Kami is both deaf and mute. He sees the lightning flashing, smells the sizzle in the air, and feels the thunder rumbling. When he gets to the meadow, the yaks are not there. Where are they? Has anything bad happened to them? Will they ever be found? And what can Kami do when the storm hits? This story was inspired by a determined little boy whom author Andrea Stenn Stryer while trekking near Mt. Everest. He was unable to speak but communicated effectively by imaginative gesturing and loved yaks. Despite Kami’s disability, youngsters can find encouragement by reading about his resourcefulness and courage. An author’s note offers some cultural information. Illustrator Bert Dodson’s vivid watercolors greatly add to the tale’s drama, such as where Kami uses his body and gestures to communicate with his father and brother the word yak. This is a great picture book to take a child traveling to another part of the world.