The Last Straw
Frederick H. Thury
Illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen
Talewinds, a Charlesbridge imprint, 1998
From the dust jacket, “Hoshmakaka, a proud, old camel is chosen to perform a very special task—he is to carry the wise men’s gifts to the new baby king in Bethlehem. At first Hoshmakaka is reluctant. But the adoration of the younger camels causes him to foolishly boast of his strength, and the next thing he knows he is headed toward Bethlehem. On the way Hoshmakaka meets many others who also have gifts for the new king. The proud camel agrees to carry each item, even when it seems that his burden will be too great. Then a small child pleads with him to carry the proverbial last straw. Will this final gift bring the mighty camel to his knees?”
A freshly original take on the journey of the 3 Wise Men, The Last Straw looks at the journey from the point of view of an old camel. It is a story of pride and of being too proud; and of the journey of life we all must trod and whether or not we go with joy or with bitterness. But those ideas might be over the heads of younger readers of this book. For non-readers to the early readers, it is best read to them, only because the text is small for a picture book and there is a lot of it. The Christ Child is not mentioned by name, only as the “new baby king.” The illustrations are beautiful, detailed and accurate to the story.
Reviewer: Simon, the ReinCat