This slim, paperback book, is actually really sweet and colorful. It doesn’t look like much at just 14 pages, but the minimal text conveys a good message of helping elders in the home, and can easily be extended to helping those in the community. I think this is a great book for 3 to 5 year old. Little ones will get ideas on what they can do, and new readers will feel accomplished when they turn the last page.
Little brothers, Muhammed and Musa, are waiting for their grandparents to arrive and are confused when their daddy reminds them to be helpful, since they are little and their grandparents are adults. The parents explain how getting old is hard to the boys and give them ideas of how they can help. Once they arrive, the boys spring in to action by helping them unpack, getting Grandma her walking stick, and even helping grandpa find his missing teeth. They especially love when they help put out the prayer rugs for salat.
The pictures are simple yet well done. The women wear hijab, not just the mom and grandma, but the doctor too. Gender roles are depicted well too, the dad takes his parents grocery shopping, is shown helping in the kitchen, and serves the tea.
I really think if you have elder family, it is a great book to introduce what changes and what responsibilities the little ones can help with. With my own children it was a good reminder and conversation starter that they need to keep toys off the floor so no one trips, they need to listen the first time to whatever they are asked by the elders to do, and that they need to sometimes even help them walk, or slow their gate. If you don’t have grandparents in the home, it can extend to people at the mosque, with kids helping get chairs, or even at the grocery store in being mindful of holding doors open and helping return carts.
Somehow between child number one and child number four I had forgotten the utter impracticality of toddler board books with flaps to lift. It is great and all to find a book that is solidly constructed to withstand tantrums, hunger, teething, and jumping on, but then to add thin delicate flaps to engage the child renders the book readable for about three days. Ok, the time it takes for any given toddler to systematically tear off every flap is unique for each child, but my 18 month old handles his siblings chapter books with more care than he can muster for the overpowering temptation of a slightly raised flap of paper begging to be tugged on. Needless to say, all 16 pages of the book are no longer in pristine condition, alhumdulillah.
Also, Alhumdulillah that is a decent book of introducing islamic phrases to small children and hence the repetition of the book means that even with the missing flaps and torn off words, the book can still be figured out and read. A boy and his mom journey up a snow covered mountain as the little boy tries to learn what to say to go to Jannah (heaven). As he says islamic phrases like AstagfirAllah, SubhanAllah, and JazakAllah Khayr, his mother tells him when those phrases are used and what they mean, until the boy figures out he must say and believe the Shahada (there is only one God, and the last Prophet is Prophet Muhammad (as)). The sayings are written in Arabic script, and English script under the flap, and the back of the book has a glossary of the Islamic words. The language is simple and encouraging for small children and a good way to reinforce the words we say to remember Allah throughout our day. The characters have no faces and with a snow filled landscape the pictures aren’t overly engaging, but what is there, is done well, and allows the text to take center stage in the story. Those flaps though….