Max’s wealthy parents had sent him to a desert camp to sort out his bratty behaviour. However, he decides to walk out.
Max’s bravado keeps him going even though he is scared he could die from his mistake of walking into the desert without proper survival rations.
Zul, a Mongolian girl, saves him from death. She tends to her parents’ goat-herd and teaches Max a lot about life.
These are strong themes: the cultural shock of Mongolian customs, family life and teamwork. Maturity and trust help Max develop courage. When he is faced with a life or death challenge, his ability to solve it is quick. He learns more from real-life experiences than being sent to a camp in the Gobi Desert.
I enjoyed this very interesting novel about Mongolia and the plot would appeal to teenage students. Included are a number of Dylan Gibson’s life-like black and white illustrations.
Check out more of Gibson's artwork on his website.
review by Fiona
image by Mark Heard