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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
We live in a world where families are divided by oceans and continents, people having moved to faraway countries to start a new life. It must be difficult leaving behind all that is familiar: places, foods, and especially family and friends. It can’t be that much different for animals either, transplanted from their native lands and relocated to homes far away. Harmony is a llama and he wishes he lived in Peru with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins instead of on a farm in Ohio. Whenever he thinks about the family he may never see, Harmony is sad. That is, until the owner of the farm on which he and his parents and many other llamas live, shows Harmony that he is special and loved and he can have a family in Ohio, too.
Cristina Sicard’s picture book story, Harmony, addresses a growing dilemma of transplanted families and immigrant life. The story is told partially in rhyming verse, with a sincere gentleness that is evident in the subtle watercolor gouaches that illustrate the story. Harmony states why he is sad, then sets about to explore the home that he does have in Ohio; the multiple seasons he can enjoy, the other llamas he can play with, his parents and, particularly, the owner who lavishes him and all the other llamas with her love and attention. Harmony learns a valuable lesson in his exploration: that life may not be exactly how he thinks it should be, that he may not be with all of his extended family, but he does have a good life and is safe and warm and well cared for on a farm in Ohio. Life is never perfect, but the message is clear: it does have its perks. A difficult lesson for people of all ages to learn.