Hairy Hezekiah by Dick King-Smith, John Eastwood |, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
Hairy Hezekiah

Hairy Hezekiah

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by Dick King-Smith, Nick Bruel, Andrew Sachs

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All of the other zoo animals have friends to keep them company, but Hezekiah is alone. With no one to talk to, he gets downright cranky. What's a lonely camel to do?

ESCAPE, that's what! One cold winter night Hezekiah manages to open the paddock gate and make a break for freedom. But how will he ever find a pal in the countryside?

Filled with humor and action,


All of the other zoo animals have friends to keep them company, but Hezekiah is alone. With no one to talk to, he gets downright cranky. What's a lonely camel to do?

ESCAPE, that's what! One cold winter night Hezekiah manages to open the paddock gate and make a break for freedom. But how will he ever find a pal in the countryside?

Filled with humor and action, this rollicking adventure is sure to satisfy anyone who loves animals--or who just enjoys a good laugh.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Polished raconteur King-Smith (Babe: The Gallant Pig) adds another cheerful animal caper to his repertoire, introducing a hairy Bactrian camel who is the sole member of his species in an English zoo. Hoping to find a pal, the lonely creature escapes from his paddock and roams around the zoo. But friends are nowhere to be found: the lions threaten to eat him, the chimps laugh at him and a parrot insults his appearance. Hezekiah then lumbers through the countryside, where he "wreaked a trail of havoc," leaving behind broken gates, smashed fences and holes in hedges, thus enabling other animals to leave their pastures and amble where they like. When the camel expresses a desire "to find somewhere safe to go, somewhere with lots of space," some Holstein cows point him in the direction of a safari park, located on the grounds of an earl's estate. That debonair fellow (who sports a bushy beard and mustache) is immediately enchanted by his visitor: "They looked into each other's eyes, and perhaps because each was so hairy, both felt that they were kindred spirits and had become-and would always continue to be-best friends." King-Smith expertly juggles the comedic and the informational-readers may be surprised by how much they will learn about the species-and Bruel's (Poor Puppy) cartoon art enhances both the initial poignancy and the playfulness of this tale. Ages 7-10. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
Hezekiah, a Bactrian camel living in an English zoo, is as clever and funny as this story. However, he is also lonely. He has no camel friends and never hears another camel voice. So, Hezekiah speaks out loud to himself. The zoo keepers and visitors hear only blubbering, bubbly noises, so Hezekiah finds a way to escape from his confinement. He stops in a room labeled “GENTS” (of course, he cannot read) where he has the opportunity to slake his thirst. Then, he settles in for the night. The next morning, he is awaked by a cleaning woman who is quite alarmed at seeing the hairy beast. Heekiah’s adventures will amuse kids as he blunders across the countryside, wreaking havoc as he goes and meeting other animals. Finally, he meets a very good friend, Lord Basin, who is just as interesting and unusual as Hezekiah himself. This is a quirky tale with a happy ending. An added bonus is the lovely, though unobtrusive, message about being polite and kind. The author, who also wrote Babe: The Gallant Pig, has a great understanding of animals--and people, too. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
Kirkus Reviews
Another amiable animal ramble from King-Smith-this one featuring a lonely Bactrian camel who breaks out of a Somerset zoo to look for a pal. Lipping open the latch to his cage, Hezekiah ambles through the closed zoo for chats with the lions and chimps, fills up on water in the men's restroom and then (thanks to a notably inattentive zookeeper) sallies forth into the countryside, leaving chaos behind him as he plows through hedges and fences. At last, a conversation with some cows brings his quest to an end; directed to a local game park, he bonds with the animal-loving Earl who owns it, and hooks up with species-mate Hephzibah. "I do like happy endings!" exclaims the Earl. Hezekiah doesn't have the vivid personality, nor the adventures of Star Livingstone's llama Harley (2001), illustrated by Molly Bang, and doesn't show much character in Bruel's bland cartoons. Still, this low-key comedy will please newly independent readers. (Fantasy. 8-10)
From the Publisher
"King-Smith expertly juggles the comedic and the informational—readers may be surprised by how much they will learn about the species—and Bruel's ... cartoon art enhances both the initial poignancy and the playfulness of this tale."

Publishers Weekly


"Amiable animal ramble from King-Smith ... will please newly independent readers."

Kirkus Reviews


"An ideal early chapter book."

School Library Journal

Product Details

Bolinda Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Hairy Hezekiah

By Dick King-Smith, Nick Bruel

Roaring Brook Press

Copyright © 2007 Nick Bruel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9803-1


In a zoo in an English city there lived a camel. Do not think that I am being a liar, when I say his name was Hezekiah. It really was, honestly. He was a Bactrian camel, very big and heavy and covered with a lot of dark brown hair. On his back he carried two large humps. He was well-fed and kindly treated, but in one way Hezekiah was different from all the other animals in the zoo.

They had friends to talk to — the lions in the Lion House, the gorillas and chimpanzees in the Ape House, the birds in the Aviary, the monkeys in the Monkey Temple — they all had others of their own kind with them or close by. They could roar or scream or whistle or chatter at one another as much as they liked.

But there were no other camels for Hezekiah to make friends with. He was the only one, and he lived in a wire-fenced grass paddock all by himself.

Hezekiah, you will have guessed, was lonely. Visitors to the zoo came and stood by the fence and looked at Hezekiah. They could hear him making deep grumbly noises as he stared out at them through his heavily lashed eyes, but they could not know that he was in fact talking to himself out loud.

He had fallen into this habit because he had no camel friends to speak to, no camel voices to listen to, and, though he didn't suppose the humans could understand him, it comforted him to speak his thoughts to the watching people.

"Wish I had a pal," he often said. "Don't suppose you care but I'm the only camel in the zoo, did you know that?"

Often, in reply to Hezekiah's growling and snorting and the bubbly sounds that he made through his thick rubbery lips, the visitors made noises too. But of course Hezekiah could not understand what they were saying to him, and anyway he couldn't hear much of it because his ears were very hairy inside.

One day Hezekiah was standing by the gate to his paddock, staring out through his heavy eyelashes. It was a bitterly cold winter's day. There were hardly any visitors in the zoo and none at all near him.

He didn't mind the cold a bit as his coat was so thick, but he was more than usually grumpy because he hadn't yet been fed.

"Where's my blasted breakfast?" he growled. "I'm starving. My humps feel all floppy."

Camels store fat in their humps, and if they are really, really short of food, the humps shrink in size. Hezekiah wasn't actually starving, of course, just hungry.

When at last he saw his keeper approaching, carrying a bale of hay, he shouted rudely at the man. "Get a move on, slowpoke!" he boomed. "You're late and I'm famished!"

The keeper was a fairly new one who hadn't been at the zoo for long. The only thing he knew about the camel was that he seemed to be a bad-tempered old thing who was always moaning and groaning.

"Keep your hair on, Hezekiah," he said as he slid back the metal bar that kept the gate shut. Now he opened it, threw in the bale of hay and cut its strings. "There you are, you old grouch," he called, and he went out again, closing the gate behind him.

Hezekiah tucked into his hay greedily, swallowing it down in great lumps. Like a cow, he would later lie down and chew the cud. When night fell, he got to his feet and, on his huge splayed hooves, lumbered over to the gate of the paddock and stood, as he often did, staring out.

There was no one for him to talk to, for all the visitors had left the zoo, so, as usual, he talked to himself.

"I wish," said Hezekiah, "that I could open this gate. I could have a walk around the place, meet some other animals, make a pal perhaps, even though I'm the only camel in the zoo. I wonder if I could somehow open the darn thing. Perhaps it's something to do with that metal bar. Maybe I could shift it."

He lowered his long neck and with his thick blubbery lips he mouthed at the bar. It was stiff and for a while he could not move it. "Easy enough for keepers with fingers and thumbs," he grumbled, "but not for Bactrian camels."

He was on the point of giving up, but then he said to himself, "Oh, come on, Hezekiah, one last try." He gave it one last push and at last the bar slid across and the gate swung open. "Bless my humps!" he said, and walked out.


The whole of the zoo was dark now, except for lights in a few of the buildings. As Hezekiah made his way toward the nearest one, he heard from within it a deep rolling roar that ended in a couple of grunts. So he made his entrance through the half-open door into the Lion House.

Now, people cannot understand camel talk and camels can't understand human language. But in one way almost all animals are cleverer than humans, because they can understand one another! To Hezekiah the noise that the lion was making meant, "I am the lion, the King of Beasts, and I'm locked up in this horrible cage. Darn it!"

The camel made his lumbering way into the dimly lit Lion House and walked along in front of the row of cages. At the sight of him, there was a burst of noise from within them.

"Mom! Mom!" cried some cubs. "Whatever is that thing? Will it hurt us?" "Of course not," replied a lioness. "First, it can't get into our cage, and second, if it could, I'd kill it and we'd eat it."


Excerpted from Hairy Hezekiah by Dick King-Smith, Nick Bruel. Copyright © 2007 Nick Bruel. Excerpted by permission of Roaring Brook Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dick King-Smith (1922-2011) was the author of dozens of popular books for children, including Babe: The Gallant Pig and The Water Horse, both of which were adapted into major motion pictures. Born in Gloucestershire, England, King-Smith served in World War II, farmed for twenty years and, later, taught elementary school. The inspiration for many of his best-selling animal stories came from his farm and his animals.


Nick Bruel is the author and illustrator of New York Times bestseller Boing, Bad Kitty, Bad Kitty Gets a Bath and Bad Kitty Meets the Baby, among others. Nick is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist, and during his down time, he collects PEZ dispensers and grows tomatoes in the backyard. He lives in Tarrytown, NY with his wife Carina and their lovely cat Esmerelda.

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Hairy Hezekiah 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This books is really short.How are you going to read a book that's really short.