1953: Secret of the Andes (Llama Herding)


Laurinda’s Rating: 2.5/5

The 1953 Newbery Medal Winner, Secret of the Andes, is the story of an indigenous boy in Peru. He is raised in a hidden valley with a special herd of llamas, trained for an unknown purpose. Eventually, Cusi of the golden ear hoops goes to see Cuzco. He must also make a choice between what he was raised for and the secular world, although he doesn’t know it. Cusi decides he’s happier with the man who raised him, carrying on the tradition of raising llamas descended from the royal herds. Although he finds out the truth of his birth parents, he declares that family of choice is more important.

I just don’t have strong feelings about this one. The character building and development of the main characters is well executed. The author does an excellent job of describing Peru. The plot is what got this a “meh” rating from me. Although there is some journeying/questing, it involves no danger and the moral is super cheesy: Love the family you choose. Although he does it with fuller knowledge, Cusi ends the book the same way he began – as a llama herder. It’s not a bad book, and it has many cute parts, it just engenders no soaring emotions.


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