Kami and the Yaks

Kami and the Yaks

5.0 1
by Andrea Stenn Stryer, Bert Dodson
     
 

Just before the start of a new trek, a Sherpa family discovers that their yaks are missing. Young Kami, anxious to help his brother and father maintain their livelihood, sets off by himself to find the wandering herd. A spunky deaf child who is unable to speak, Kami attempts to summon the yaks with his shrill whistle. Failing to rout them, he

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Overview

Just before the start of a new trek, a Sherpa family discovers that their yaks are missing. Young Kami, anxious to help his brother and father maintain their livelihood, sets off by himself to find the wandering herd. A spunky deaf child who is unable to speak, Kami attempts to summon the yaks with his shrill whistle. Failing to rout them, he hustles up the steep mountainside to search the yaks' favorite grazing spots. On the way he encounters the rumblings of a fierce storm which quickly becomes more threatening. Surmounting his fear of being alone in the midst of treacherous lightning and hail, Kami uses his heightened sense of observation to finally locate the yaks. Reunited with their animals, the astonished family is once again able to transport their gear and guide the mountain climbers into the majestic terrain. 

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Children will recognize Kami's . . . pride [in solving] a family problem. . . . Atmospheric watercolors greatly extend the story's drama and tenderness.

Publishers Weekly

Set in a rural Asian community and featuring a child hero with a physical disability, this debut picture book appears to head toward a moral lesson, but Dodson's skill and Stryer's fast-moving text combine to provide a genuinely rousing story. Kami and his family are Himalayan Sherpas and their strong, sturdy yaks are their most important possessions. When the yaks don't return one day, Kami sets out to look for them with his whistle: "Its buzz tickled his lips, though he could not hear its shrill call because he was deaf." Although he finds the animals and discovers why they won't come back, he can't convince his father to take his gestured warnings seriously. Kami's deafness figures into the story, but it's his grit and resourcefulness that drive the action forward. With a nimble brush, Dodson creates an entire Himalayan world for readers, who-like Kami-can only gather knowledge from what they see. Kami's heavy coat and hat, the sheer cliffs and paths that make up the landscape and the patient yaks all seem close enough to touch. In the end, Kami helps Father rescue the yaks; in contrast to his earlier anger, "Father picked him up and clasped him to his chest." For all the adversity Kami faces, he has the opportunity to do real, important work for his family that modern children often do not; they may read his story not just with interest, but with envy. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Kami is a young sherpa boy who lives in an unnamed location in rugged Himalayan terrain. When the family's four yaks go missing, Kami's father and older brother go out to look; but Kami knows where the yaks are. Whistle in hand, the young boy sets out to find them. He tracks down the animals but they won't budge. Finally he notices that the littlest yak, White Spot, is trapped, his leg stuck between two rocks. It must be noted that this storyline, on the face of it, has absolutely everything going for it: rising tension, an appealing stakes character in the young yak, and a positively adorable protagonist in Kami. However, the story seems to well entirely from the author's intentions, which, while completely worthy, are a little too obvious. Information about Kami's deafness and his consequent lack of speech serve the author's purpose but fall short of organically building the story's magic. The narrative lacks luster, with many bald statements (e.g., "Father was angry"). The author frequently misses ripe opportunities to lead us into the story, instead resorting to merely telling it. Viewpoint is indeterminate and vacillates throughout, and in all, Kami and the Yaks is a perfectly marvelous idea that feels less than fully developed. Dodson's misty perspectives and gentle palette offer texture and nicely evoke the mountain landscape of this story.
From the Publisher
Winner of the American Library Association's 2008 Schneider Family Book Award for young children, for artistic expression of the disability experience

Listed in the Banks Street College of Education's The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2008 edition

Winner of Moonbeam Children's Book Awards 2007, Bronze Medal, for Picture Book—All Ages

"Children will admire the young hero . . . for his intrepid spirit . . . animated use of gesture . . . [and] playacting to convey the yaks' plight."  —Kirkus Reviews

"The illustrations beautifully capture the awe-inspiring landscape and the quiet determination of its inhabitants."  —Pam Grossman, PhD, professor of education, Stanford University

"This story of fear, dedication and courage is handled with sensitivity and should capture and inspire young readers."  —Carla F. Berry, EdD, associate professor for early childhood education, emerita, Roosevelt University

"Kami and the Yaks was such a delight to read. The illustrations were inspiring."  —Maureen Y. Burns, assistant principal of instruction, Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, Gallaudet University, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780977896110
Publisher:
Bay Otter Press
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

What People are saying about this

Maureen Y. Burns
Kami and the Yaks was such a delight to read. The illustrations were inspiring. Kami is a beautiful character. I cannot wait to read it to my children. (Maureen Y. Burns, assistant principal of instruction, Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, Gallaudet University, Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center)

Meet the Author

Andrea Stenn Stryer is a teacher, a librarian, and the author of The Celestial River: Creation Tales of the Milky Way. She lives in Stanford, California. Bert Dodson is a painter, a teacher, the illustrator of more than 70 children's books, and the author of Drawing & Imagination and Keys to Drawing. He was also an animation designer for the four-part PBS television series, Intimate Strangers. He lives in Bradford, Vermont.

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