Tag Archives: Toddler

Go On, Zap Shaytan: Seeking Shelter with Allah by Razana Noor illustrated by Omar Burgess

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Go On, Zap Shaytan: Seeking Shelter with Allah by Razana Noor illustrated by Omar Burgess

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In rhyming couplets spread out over 32 pages with adorable illustrations, this book is a great introduction to the whispers of shaytan that encourage us to be naughty, and how to counter them without frightnening young listeners.  Meant for preschool age children and up, this is the second book by the author discussing an important religious concept in an easy to understand manner (the first book was about Kiraman Katibinthat empowers children to make great choices and find strength in doing so, even when mistakes are made.4CB95EFD-0B5A-4725-B110-4361E48CD9A4

The “Note to Parents” at the beginning provides great framework for the takeaway message of the book.  That yes, shaytan whispers to us and we will make mistakes, but the power is ours to overcome such temptations and inshaAllah do good.

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The book starts out a bit shakey for me as the rhyming is a bit off on one page, and the blame for the little boy with the great hair’s naughtiness is blamed solely on shaytan.  As a former teacher, this is always a tricky concept when trying to teach children to take responsibility for their actions, but then knowing full well that shayateen are real too.

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Once the flip side, of how to protect yourself from shaytan, starts: by saying aoudhu-billahi minashaytanir rajeem, bismillah, salam, reading Quran, calling athan, etc.. the book flows really well.

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I love how much information is conveyed about the jinn and their purpose and how they cower and put their fingers in their ears to not hear the praise of Allah swt.

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There is a glossary for the Arabic words and Islamic references, some kids might need some additional understanding about jin and responsibiltiy, but a solid book that I have read over 20 times to my 4 year old in the last week, alhumdulillah.

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Thank you again to Crescent Moon Storefor their incredibly quick fullfillment of the order.

We are Muslim, Al-Hamdu Lillah! by Kathy Fannoun

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We are Muslim, Al-Hamdu Lillah! by Kathy Fannoun

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In digging through and pulling out board books for my nine month old to chew on, I realized I never reviewed this staple.  Published in 1994, this 16 page 4 x 5 book does a good job in rhyming verse discussing the universal bond of Islam for our littlest ones.

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It starts out by stating that we are children form many different nations, and are different shapes and sizes, but that Allah swt created us all.

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It reminds us that even though our words are different, and some of us are rich and others poor, we still enjoy God’s gifts and love our families, because in the end we all praise Allah, and are Muslims, Al-Hamdu Lillah!

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The illustrations are clearly hand drawn and filled in with colored pencils, but they show diverse skin tones, a few different ethnic dresses, some in hijab and kufis, others not, and all smiling.

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This book is basic, which makes it perfect for little ones at bedtime and even in small groups.  Younger children appreciate the simple message and rhyme scheme and it is the perfect size in their hands.

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This book is probably bringing back memories for many of you, as it was one of the first books of its kind.  A board book, that is Islamic, cute and fun, for English readers. I remember in high school reading it to my Sunday school preschool class at the masjid, sharing it at story times at the masjid as an adult, and reading it to my own kids over the years.  The binding is still holding strong, and the words still remind me how blessed I am to be s Muslim, Al-Hamdu-Lillah!

The ABC of Allah Loves Me by Learning Roots

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You really wouldn’t think there is much to review in an alphabet board book, but this particular one tries to do more than just pluck a random Islamic word or concept for each of the 26 English letters.  It attempts to give each of the letters one of Allah (swt)’s beautiful names explained in English, but written in Arabic too.

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Each 5 x 10 page features a four line description in a rhyming format to flesh out the highlighted word or phrase.

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Some letter to corresponding Asma al Husna are spot on, but some are a little more of a stretch and some don’t even seem to try.  Overall though it is well-done and delightful.

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The people illustrated don’t have visible eyes, but many have smiles, noses, or closed eyes.  They are bright and warm and engaging.  The binding and thickness of the pages is sturdy.

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Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that the while the rhyming is forced, as is nearly always the case in these type of books, the diction stays on level.  Little kids will understand the words used and emerging readers will be able to sound out and read many on their own as well.

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A great book for your toddler to preschool collection and a reasonably priced book from Crescent Moon Store http://www.crescentmoonstore.com.

Bedtime Sunnahs Emaulating the Prophet one night at a time by Alia G. Dada illustrated by Robin Boyer

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Bedtime Sunnahs Emaulating the Prophet one night at a time by Alia G. Dada illustrated by Robin Boyer

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A beautiful rhyming 11 page story for toddlers and up to learn parts of the Prophetic routine for bedtime.  Yes, 11 pages, the book in total is 28 pages, six are Appendixes, one is about the author, one is a dedication, and the rest are blank or title pages.  For a $15 book, I’m a little disappointed, which is unfortunate because the illustrations and information on those 11 pages is great.  The references are informative and important to see what Hadith the Sunnahs come from, but I think the story itself could have, and should have, been longer.

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Each page has a different family getting ready for bed and doing various acts.  I love that moms and dads are involved in bedtime routines. The illustrations show diversity and the text is simple, flowing, rhyming and straight forward.

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From brushing teeth to reciting Athkar, making duas to Allah and laying on our right side, each page has wonderful detail in the warm full color pages.  I love the decorations on the bedroom walls, signs with Allah’s name, statements saying “Strong like Zainab, Brave like Fatima, Smart like Khadija”, as well as “Smile! it’s Sunnah!”.

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The book is for Muslim children obviously, and makes getting ready for bed seem like a fun and bonding event.

The first Appendix is a Parents Notes on what the purpose of the book is and the second one is Islamic Terminology.  From the their Appendixes address the Ahadeeth about sleeping in a state of Wudu and on your right side, bedtime Atkhar, and reciting the three Quls,  I wish it would have including the Quls, seeming as the book is meant to provide information for caregivers to convey to a child, and many households may have non Muslims or new reverts in that role.

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The remaining two reference pages are Additional Sunnahs for Advanced Children which include Reciting Ayah al Kursi, the last two verses of Surah al Baqarah, the dua before bed and when waking in the morning.  The dua texts are given, the Ayats are not. There is then a final page about the author.

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The hardbound glossy cover and thick inside pages are well done in this 8×8 perfect sized book for bedtime, I just wish there was more of it.

 

 

Bismillah Little Leyla by Qura Abid illustrated by Mona Ismail

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Bismillah Little Leyla by Qura Abid illustrated by Mona Ismail

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I thought this book might be leveled- reader type based on the binding and page numbers (26), but it reads more like a picture book with its repetitive refrain, and honestly the awkward small size (5×8) makes it feel like a pamphlet.  So, I’m not sure who it is trying to appeal to, and unfortunately is a great example of how the outward presentation killed an otherwise decent book.  I also don’t know who is to blame for the final physical product, the author, the publisher, the printer? But at a $10 price point, I’m not sure anyone who purchases this book is going to be happy with the size and binding, and the book will simply get lost on a book shelf, and be forgotten.

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The premise of the book is good.  Rather than just tell kids to say Bismillah before they do anything, Little Leyla actually does it in the course of a morning.  I like that it shows that we say Bismillah before we do all types of things, not just before we eat or get in a car, but even when we swing and play a game or put on a jacket.

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The climax of the book is Leyla saying bismillah, shooting a goal and scoring against her dad.  The lesson being that Allah is always there to help us.

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I’ve read the book a dozen times, to myself and aloud, and I think the book has a natural cadence based on the diction and sentence length, and I think it wants to rhyme.  Additionally, after each example and on nearly every page, the refrain at the end of the paragraph is (nearly) the same:  “What must she say? Leyla knows! Do you? It’s Bismillah!”  The repetition makes it memorable, but with the sing song beat and on and off, often forced, rhyme, I find myself tripping over the words a lot, and I cant quite put my finger on why.  If the book were larger, and I were using it for a preschool story time, I would just have to practice it a few times, but there is no way, sadly,  you could read this book to a group if you want them to see the pictures.

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The illustrations might be ok, it might also be a presentation thing that makes them look washed out OR maybe that is how they are, I’m not sure. The detail and expressions are there, they just kinda seem faded.   Concept wise I like that they show the dad cooking and Mom playing soccer. The mom wears hijab she the family seems warm and happy.

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Thanks again to crescentmoonbooks.com for the excellent customer service and selection.

 

 

 

If Allah Allah Wills by Dr. Oz illustrated by Mariya Khan

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Not all books need to teach something, but when the book would lend it self so easily to dropping a fact or two, it seems like it would take it.  In 40 pages, preschoolers are taken on a highly imaginative journey to the Ka’ba, yet no information about the history of the Ka’ba, or any mention of Umrah or Hajj is shared, not even in passing.

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Faris wants to go to the Ka’ba but it is nearly his bedtime, so he has to act fast.  He asks his mom what he needs to wear, obviously knowing special clothes are required, but his mom prefaces the answer of white sheets as being “odd” and then adds that you need sandals.  For a book that wants to normalize Islam for children, I don’t understand why the mom would say that ihram is odd, why the word ihram isn’t used, why it doesn’t even specify the number of white pieces of unstitched cloths and why sandals would be included.

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Faris then finds two white sheets, but the illustration shows him getting towels out of the bathroom (possibly showing his imagination, but kids will just think it is an error, mine did), packing some food and jumping on his rocking horse to head off for the Ka’ba.

Faris finds himself among the stars without a map and starts to worry that he won’t find his way.  He then sees a flock of birds and wonders how they know where to go.  The book however, doesn’t answer how birds know, and just has him land and find someone to ask.

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Luckily Faris finds a camel to ask, and luckily he is a nice camel and he shows Faris to the Ka’ba.  Faris is surprised at how big it is and then supposes that Allah’s house has to be.  But he asks it as a question, which makes it a little off grammatically.  The camel points out that Allah swt is above and that the Ka’ba is for people to visit.  Faris asks what is supposed to be done at the Ka’ba and the camel answers, “We circle the Ka’ba, pray to Allah, and thank Him.”  This seems like a great place to sneak in some facts about who built the Ka’ba and why or mention Hajj or Umrah, it seems so misguided to just say we circle it.

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Faris makes some prayers that he can return for real one day with his parents before he finds a place to eat his snack and share his food with his camel.  It is nice that he shares with his new friend, but odd that when they part Faris asks him his name and he says he doesn’t have one.  Maybe give him a name, and detail its meaning or don’t include the exchange at all.  I seriously don’t understand the purpose of the exchange.

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Faris makes is home with a crash and his mom tidies him up and they say InshaAllah that Faris’ prayer inshaAllah will come to fruition.

The book has a great premise of imagination and tying in the Ka’ba, but truly there is no information about Islam or the Ka’ba or even Allah swt, it gives a mood of worship, but that is about it.  I get that it is for little kids and the book is supposed to be whimsical and light, but sneak in some facts, kids can handle it.

As for the illustrations, they are just ok.  They would have benefitted from being a little smoother and not looking home-done, but there is nothing terribly wrong with them aside from the towel and sheet imagery.    The glossary cover and large font inside is age appropriate, some pages are a bit text heavy, but overall sufficient.

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The Adventures of Nuh’s Ark by Khadijah Khaki illustrated by Tashna Salim

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The Adventures of Nuh’s Ark by Khadijah Khaki illustrated by Tashna Salim

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If you are looking for a comprehensive or somewhat detailed story about Prophet Nuh (AS), this book isn’t for you or your child.  If you want a silly story with hilarious animals to introduce your little one’s to the concept of the animals boarding Nuh’s Ark as a commandment from God, then order this book already!

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This 24 page rhyming hardback 8×10 book written for preschoolers through early readers takes the idea of animals boarding Nuh’s ark and tells what it is like in a fictional account narrated by the animals themselves.  And focuses on a pair of confused koalas as to what is going on.

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The poor koalas, are not prepared for rain and don’t do well in small spaces.  They pack too much and can’t keep up, but luckily the other animals are nice and they all work together until it stops raining and they can disembark on to land.

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The pictures are cute and comical and bring the text to life.  With the conversation bubbles adding to the story, even the pages that are a bit text heavy keep the younger listeners engaged, as they know something funny is about to be said.

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Also, the book is one in a series or three, so far, and the characters are the same ones found in the Adam and God’s Creation book as well (might be in the Ibrahim one too, but I haven’t read that one), making the nameless animal characters actually memorable as they say silly things, and are pictured being rather unique too.

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The books do not use the word Allah, but do mention God, and the Arabic of Nuh, rather than Noah, and there is mention of why there is a flood and how long it will last, but nothing quoted directly from the Quran.

My older elementary and middle school kids found the books silly as well, and giggled their way through.  It is a a fun read that even adults won’t mind repeating.  If you want a more Prophet story retelling, Migo and Ali Love for the Prophets is a good non fiction book, and it, along with the three book Lunar Learners serious can all be found at my favorite supplier Crescent Moon Store.