The Camel Who Took a Walk is a classic of picture-book making, still going strong after nearly 40 years. The opening page (”The forest was dark and very quiet…”) puts clean, white type on a navy background; the letters are so crisp you could bite them. In a gentle, leisurely voice, pleasantly echoed by the restrained, shadowy illustrations, the narration sets the scene of a hushed forest where a tiger crouches beside the road. Yes, something is moving: A ”very beautiful camel” is spied in the distance, taking her morning walk.
The tiger plans a lethal pounce; a monkey plans to spoil the pounce; a squirrel plans to foil the monkey — and toward all this activity, the camel strolls in grateful obliviousness.
The climax of the story is a perfectly paced and satisfying camel joke. The Camel is the creation of a more modest era, when the best picture books gratified rather than dazzled, when the language was firm and shapely, the wit humane, and the pleasure enduring. A