Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
"It's hard to knit a sweater with your hooves," writes Bahrampour (A Pig in the Palace) in the irresistible opening to this parable about curiosity versus fear, "but Hakim somehow did it." Now the orange donkey is headed up the mountain to give it to his friend Daisy, who lives at the tippy-top. But the narrow, twisting road is shrouded in fog, and an old goat soon warns Hakim that monsters are afoot. Hakim spots a strange beast with a square head and glaring eyes, but it's just a dog struggling to carry building materials, a load that Hakim offers to carry in his saddlebags as they continue their journey. More travelers join in the same manner: the pen, ink, and watercolor drawings portray something ghoulish in the fog, which then turns out to be nothing more than, say, a pig carrying umbrellas. Bahrampour has one more surprise for readers before the fog burns away, but the book's meaning is unmistakable, and even urgent: snap judgments and trepidation are no way to move forward in the world. "Everything looks like a monster in the fog," Hakim says. "But the closer you get, the less scary it becomes." Ages 4--8. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (June)
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Review by Horn Book Review
"It's hard to knit a sweater with your hooves." The opening line of this animal fable sounds like a piece of gnomic wisdom, but in fact it simply refers to protagonist Hakim, a friendly-looking donkey who is knitting a sweater for his friend Daisy, who lives on the top of a mountain. "Hard" it may be, but obviously not impossible, because one page-turn later we see Hakim tucking the completed blue sweater into his colorful tapestry saddlebag before heading off to deliver his gift. The first character he meets on the narrow, foggy mountain path is a doom-predicting goat who warns against the mountain's monsters. Hakim is unflappable when he sees monstrous silhouettes appearing in the mist and, sure enough, they all turn out to be benign, if odd. Every encounter is a witty and wacky visual joke. The creatures join Hakim on his journey and are present for the final big reveal, a surprise that turns the tale inside out and undercuts an overly neat moral. The pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are dramatically composed, full of humor, and punctuated with mysterious glowing fog. A book that is perfect for storytime and, with its clean design and accessible text, also for new readers. Sarah Ellis July/August 2022 p.84(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.