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Bambi the alpaca loves his brother Charisma and they enjoy each other company as they eat together, play together and sleep together. But Charisma is also Bambi’s support, as Bambi is blind and relies on his brother to guide him around the paddock so he avoids banging into fences and gates.
When Charisma is shifted out of the paddock Bambi finds it difficult to fend for himself, becoming sad and stops eating. Even the sheep which are put in the paddock for company don’t bring Bambi out of his misery. But when Renaldo another alpaca arrives, Bambi is thrilled and before long, ‘Everywhere Renaldo went, Bambi went too.’
This is a heart -warming book all the more so, as it is based on a true story which author Jan Lummis was encouraged to write after the report of the two alpacas on her property made headlines in the media.
The illustrations by Jenny Cooper are an absolute delight, the facial expressions on the animals will be loved by children and adults alike, and each time I have read the book I have chuckled at a different animal’s face.
Having two alpacas in a neighbouring paddock has seen my interest in these animals develop, but I still found the two pages at the rear of the book fascinating, and I am sure the facts about alpacas will provide valuable discussion points for children at school or at home.
This simple tale of friendship and love, as well as supporting someone with a disability, so will be of value to a wide age group, and with the repetition of words throughout, will soon have children repeating, “Munch, Munch, Munch, Cuddle, Cuddle, Cuddle”.
Reviewed by Lesley McIntosh
Bambi the Blind Alpaca
by Jan Lummis, illustrated by Jenny Cooper
Published by Scholastic NZ