This is the second and seemingly last book in the Rashid series, which is unfortunate, because like its predecessor Rashid and the Missing Body, the book is a quick fun read aimed at 3rd through 5th graders with Muslim characters solving a mystery. At just 110 pages the book reunites friends Rashid, Gary, and Chris, three boys of different religious backgrounds with plenty of respect and understanding to inspire readers of all ages.
Rashid and his friends hear screaming in the middle of the night and rush outside to see robbers in their neighbor’s house. Once the police come and no evidence of a break in can be found, the boys do their own investigating to see what is going on. Pieces of information start to come together from the elderly neighbor and her stories of her father, mysterious contacts online, old WWII veterans at retirement homes, and good old fashioned library research, to lead the boys on an adventure to find a lost diamond. Never a dull moment as the boys are chased by the burglars, family issues at home bring Rashid’s sister and baby into the story, some bullies at school and more.
WHY I LIKE IT:
The book is incredibly fast paced, it hops around from one story-line to the next. While this format seemed more cohesive in the first book, it was a little jarring for me in this one. I didn’t mind the side stories at school, or even the soccer matches, but the story of the sister, Huda and her marital problems with her husband Ahmed seemed a bit out of place. I see what the author’s intent was, but in such a short book aimed at elementary aged boys, it seemed a heavy story-line to interweave into an adventure story. The deeper understanding of mixing cultures and expectations I am positive would be lost on all young adult readers. Once again, the author however, does do a great job of telling a story where the character’s Islam adds to the character, and doesn’t distract from the adventure on hand. Rashid uses islamic terms, the family prays together, they go to the masjid and laugh with the imam and congregation, they talk about proper ways to correct people and the value of intentions, overall, I’d say they convey a “normal” Muslim family.
No flags, the book is clean and inspiring, alhumduillah
TOOLS FOR LEADING THE DISCUSSION:
There isn’t a lot out there about the book or the author, nor is the book in the Accelerated Reader database. I think with its linear story, keeping track of the clues and throwing in some highlights of Islamic manners and morals, however, would make a discussion on the book easy and natural enough for all to enjoy.