CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 37 . . . . May 25, 2018
Baby Muskox was wandering the Arctic, alone and worried, when Mother Caribou spotted him and invited him to join her herd. While she loved him as though he were her own, the rest of the caribou herd didn't accept him, making him feel like an outsider. Baby Muskox tried to play with Baby Caribou and his friends, but they teased him and ran far ahead when his short legs couldn't keep up. Baby Muskox could count on Mother Caribou to comfort him when he was lonely, but he was always left wondering why he was so different. Happily, Baby Muskox finds a herd whose members look just like himself. He is sad to leave Mother Caribou behind but wants to learn about the new herd and hopes that this is where he truly belongs.
The title and the cover picture suggest this picture book will be about unlikely friendships and accepting those who are different from you. In actuality, the theme is about never feeling as though you fit in, and always wondering why you are different, until you hopefully find a group that looks just like you. While this book explores diversity, I wish that it promoted inclusivity and acceptance more.
The third person narrative reads like a sequence of events and doesn't dig deeply into the thoughts and feelings of the muskox or the caribou but could allow readers to project their own feelings on the story. It is also refreshing to see a variety of animals in picture books as most children will not be familiar with muskox or caribou.
Campeau's beautiful full-page art really captures the majestic Arctic in the spring. The last page is especially striking with a orange-red sunrise overlooking a mountain range.
Mallory Dawson is the Community Engagement Librarian at Whitby Public Library in Whitby, ON.
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