Book two in the Adam Series was the first Zanib Mian book I ever read, and for the last three years I’ve been looking for the first book. So, while thrilled to finally find it secondhand in the US, I realize my review of it is a bit selfish. I’m hoping that if it appeals to you that maybe we can encourage the author to re-release it somehow or write more books in the series, I’m not entirely sure how publishing and copyrights work, but I feel like it is worth a shot. There aren’t a lot of early readers with Muslim characters out there, let alone ones that are done well. The book is 32 pages, hard back and is would work for 5 year olds and up that know their site words and are pretty fluent at sounding out new words. Ideally, kids that have had the story read to them a few time will be able to pick it up faster, as the story is compelling, the spacing between lines and the variety of fonts will hold their interest, but some pages do have a lot of text and some words are a bit complex.
Adam has a tummy ache, aka tummy monsters, and while he doesn’t want “yucky medicine” from the doctor, he is happy when his dad, puts on a silly hat and assumes the role of “Detective Doodle” to solve the case. They determine that he ate porridge for breakfast, but so did Adam’s sister and brother, who are feeling fine, so that can’t be it. He washed his hands before eating, and said “Bismillah” before he started too. It seems he followed all the eating rules, but when Adam’s sister Mariam stumbles on a scene in the playroom, the culprit is uncovered.
WHY I LIKE IT:
I love that the family has a silly approach to a very common childhood problem. I also love that while, solving the case, reminders about eating etiquette are sneaked in without being preachy or cumbersome. Once the reason for the tummy ache is uncovered, Adam’s parents don’t scold him, but it is safe to say he probably learns his lesson.
The pictures are engaging and colorful. The mom wears hijab, and the characters are warm and happy. The background color of the pages changes and sets a nice tone for the book.
In the text, Adam isn’t asked if he said bismillah, but rather if he said, “in the name of God,” but in the illustration, a speaking bubble has him saying bismillah, which makes me wonder if the author was trying to make the book accessible to both Muslims and non Muslims alike. It definitely could be, I think the story is fun and the consequences for gorging on chocolate pretty universal.
TOOLS FOR LEADING THE DISCUSSION:
Like the second Adam book, this book will work perfect for story time in small groups and bedtime on repeat. I think in a classroom it would be great to have small groups read the story and then discuss. Not a traditional Book Club, obviously for the length of the book and the target audience, but I do think that even little kids will have a lot to say about Adam and his silly family. More importantly, I think they all will have stories of their own “tummy monsters” to contribute and discuss.