Kala Sambasavin, illustrated by Ambika Sambasivan,
Bye, Bye, Motabhai!
Yali Books, 2013.
The “large, lumpy, yellow-brown camel” Pavan is a camel with a dream – he longs to escape from his owner Motabhai, a sabzi-wala (vegetable-seller) in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, and head for the glamour of the life of the racing camels in faraway Dubai.
One day Motabhai is fully occupied dealing with the repercussions of Pavan’s mischief and Pavan seizes his opportunity to escape – with four children on his back. They are supposed to be on their way to school but there is no doubt that they embark on the adventure as gleefully as Pavan himself. The ensuing chase not only draws in a donkey, Bijilee, who wants to make friends, but also various irate officials, as well as the animals’ owners. With a little ingenious help from the children, Pavan and Bijilee manage to escape detection, paving the way for the next story in what is set to be a four-book series. By the time young readers get to the end of this naughty camel’s hilarious adventure, they too will be joining in the chorus that forms part of the book’s title: “Bye, Bye, Motabhai! / Off I go to Dubai.”…