I picked this up in my school library and started to read the small and uninviting text (it looks like an essay) and was quickly swallowed up by the kid detective story of not only who-done-it, but how. At 80 pages, the book is both compelling and charming, in its simplicity and ability to bounce around. The back of the book suggests the book for ages 11 to 15, but I think it would appeal to anyone seven and up, particularly boys. The book is not AR, but I plan to make a quick 10 question quiz so that students can read the book and get class credit by logging in, taking the test, and hopefully passing.
Rashid and his new (non-Muslim) friends are playing a simple enough game of cops and robbers when they stumble upon a dead body in a shed at the park. The rush home to call the police, but by the time they return, the body is gone. The story is the adventures of the boys trying to figure out what happened and how to make sure the culprit doesn’t get away with his crime. The backdrop of Rashid’s family, his Muslim and non Muslim friends, a few bullies, is all beautifully woven into a moral and uplifting story where the characters are practicing Muslims, and the supporting characters are respectful to the point that Rashid’s religion is a non-issue, just a strong defining characteristic.
WHY I LIKE IT:
Superficially the book appeals to a hard to inspire boy demographic, that alone prompted me to pick up the book. I love that the book doesn’t get bogged down in preaching, it truly comes from a Muslim perspective of handling Islamic events in your daily life, and in this case solving the case. When scared Rashid asks Allah for help, he prays, he fasts in Ramadan, he helps his brother, the author has Rashid’s sister get married and has Rashid’s annoying cousins come over; there is no over the top drama in the home life, the suspense and climax of the book is the dead body, not who Rashid is and what he believes. I think to see a character so like themselves tracking down suspects and having such a grand adventure will be a big hit with our students. I don’t think it lends itself well to a book club book, but I can’t wait to recommend the book to individuals.
Clean. As the back of the book says “It brings into play life-enriching Islamic values of standing up for truth, a strong sense of duty and bond of sincere friendship. The story throws light on Muslim family life, their morals and manners and outlook on life.”