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Bradford and the Journey to the Desert of Lop

by Dawn Van Zant
Illustrated by Alexander Levitas



      Dawn Van Zant's intentions with her picture book, Bradford and the Journey to the Desert of Lop, are commendable. The book is dedicated to Bradford Lawless, a child who lost his battle with cancer, and features him as the main character. Van Zant also uses the book to tell the world about the wild Bactrian camels and the people who live in Gobi Desert. I love camels, especially the shaggy, two-humped Bactrians, so I was very interested in reading this large picture book, which is beautifully illustrated by Alexander Levitas's watercolors. (Unfortunately, there aren't enough of them.)

The Bradford in the story is also seriously ill and is visited by the Sandman who takes him on a long journey in his dreams to a stretch of the Gobi called the Desert of Lop. He finds the wild camels and even leads a charge riding on one, chasing away tomb robbers in the sand.

The wild camels are unique because they can drink salt water, but their domestic cousins cannot. They also have never been affected by nuclear testing that was done in the desert as other animals and humans have. Even their offspring are immune. But they and their fragile habitat are endangered. Van Zant includes information at the end of the book about saving these wild camels.

I enjoyed the story but found it to be quite long. It seemed to be trying to tell too much. Also, there are three to five pages of text before a picture is found. Because of this, it is probably best read aloud by chapters, divisions of the story Van Zant does provide.

The Book

Wild Heart Ranch
October 2005
Hardcover
0976176823
Children's fiction, picture book [Age Group: 4-8]
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Excerpt
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2006
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!, Relaxation Techniques for Children, Relaxation Techniques for Adults; Co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook, Get Rich on Love, and Sacred Breath (a sound recording of relaxation meditations).
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