Hyenas have feelings too…

When Dad’s Away

by Gabriela Arellano
Illustrator: Gustavo Mazali


Kena the little Hyena goes with his mother Hazina to the airport to meet dad, Babum.
Dad works on an oil rig and he’s away most of the time.
Kena misses his dad and looks forward to the meeting, but when he finally sees
his father, Kena is overwhelmed. Kena doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings, and Babum thinks Kena is mad with him. Mother Hazina knows her little one’s heart
and suggests that Babum will tell Kena how special he is for his dad, although they
don’t see each other every day.
In these modern hectic times, many parents need to part with their kids due to work obligations. This book is a good read for kids who need to often experience these
kinds of separations. They would be able to identify with Kena and find comfort
knowing there are other kids in similar situations.
I like the message in the book, I’m sure it will help kids deal with separation.
I also like that the author chose to show Babum’s emotional struggles. Adult’s
dilemmas are usually left out of children’s books, but in this case, it’s important
for the young reader to enter the parent world.
The drawings are nice and eye-catching. The left side of each spread is written
in Spanish while the right side is in English. I think the last spread is somewhat dull especially after Kena’s warming up to his Dad on the previous spread, but it’s still a nice read.