Brief Description: A sweet story about an old, tired working camel and the empathy shown to it by the Prophet Muhammad.
Historical Era: Middle Ages
Date Range: 622
Original Publication: 2013
Suitable for Grades: K-3rd
Target Audience: Picture Book
An old camel, laden with trade goods and ridden by an unkind man, crisscrosses the dry landscape from Jeddah to Al-Hasa, from Najran to Medina, endlessly back and forth, in what is now Saudi Arabia. The owner always hurries to the next market city, indifferent to the suffering of the weary camel. Medina is depicted in beautiful watercolor paintings by illustrator Linda Wolfsgruber in a muted desert color palette as a walled city filled with domed buildings and busy merchants resting in shaded gardens. When the Prophet Muhammad chances upon the sad camel, tied up in the sun, he comforts it and chastises the owner whereupon the owner starts to show kindness toward the camel.
Back matter includes an author’s note about his inspiration for the story, which came from a hadith, a collection of the Prophet’s words. This book tells a parable; it is not historical fiction and therefore lacks historical detail. It thus merits a historicity score of only 1 on my scale. English language historical fiction about Islam or the Middle East is rare however, and this book might be your best bet to visually introduce young readers to the atmosphere of a desert city and the dawning of a new religion.