This isn’t my favorite Hamza book, which is unfortunate, because it presents some really good information in a way different than all the other children’s Hajj books I’ve read. Hamza want’s to know if there is a swimming pool at Hajj or if big machines were used to build the Kabaa. All pretty accurate questions for how a 4 year old processes what is going on, but it takes Hamza and the reader forever to get any information. He hears about Hajj from his parents, then goes to ask his sister Aisha who tells him its one of the pillars, then goes to ask grandpa, then is glad he has learned so much about hajj, then eager to learn more…it seems like all the book does up until this point is have Hamza asking to learn, wanting to learn, and glad he has learned, but nothing he is learning is being shared with the reader!
Eventually we do learn that the Kabba is a house of worship built thousands of years ago, that it is the direction that we pray, and that Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) and his son built it. About Hajj we learn that you have to wear white two-piece outfits, that millions of people go, and that you can only go during a special time of year. Not a lot of information, but at the same time, for little ones, that can be a good thing. Sometimes learning all the names of places and rituals is cumbersome and off-putting.
The amount of text on the pages is minimal, and the pictures, as always, are endearing, Hamza even imagines himself bald! I do question when the book claims, that going to Medina to visit Masjid al Nabawi is part of Hajj.
Hamza gets excited for Hajj and I think that is conveyed to the readers. Little kids will giggle and remember that the Kabba was built by people’s hands, and that it is far away. Not bad for 3 and 4 year olds, but not enough to engage older kids, or those with some understanding of Hajj.