Another factual Ramadan book, with a fictional storyline that utilizes the banter between children and their parents to teach the reader about the blessed month. Not a unique or original storyline, but somehow it still manages to be cute. The book has very little doctrine discussed, and more hands on action of charity, visiting other families for iftar, and taking treats to non muslim neighbors as the focus of the book.
Hassan and Aneesa are young, and the book is similarly written for young kids. The back of the book says 2 and up, and the short declarative sentences definitely work for younger children. The pictures are warm as the characters are smily and detailed, but not overwhelmingly so. At home the mom does not cover, but does when she is out, as does the little girl. The family is depicted as warm and affectionate to one another and I love that they visit a non-muslim-sounding-named neighbor and are rewarded with a non “ethnic” treat of chocolate cake. I also like that the kids are encouraged to fast for parts of the day, even if it is the second half of the day. The book appeals to today’s children who may at times chose “ethnic” food and clothes and sometimes not. The book is small in size at 6.5 by 7.5 inches and is 24 pages with a glossary in the back. It is for pre-school kids and while it might work for non-muslims, I think for the age group, if a child didn’t know a Muslim at least, the book would be a bit hard to grasp.
Hassan and Aneesa are excited as mom and dad tell them Ramadan starts tomorrow, but a confused Aneesa sneaks downstairs and suhoor time wondering why her parents are eating breakfast in the middle of the night. The next day they read Quran and gather up toys to take to the thrift store. While there Aneesa donates some money too. As they leave they are invited to an Aunt’s house for iftar. After iftar they have to rush to Tarawih at the masjid. That night Aneesa and her mom discuss why Muslim’s fast in an age appropriate manner, and the two kids decide they want to try, even though they don’t have to yet.
The next day the fasting kids cook enough dinner to share with their neighbor Mrs. Smith. Aneesa breaks her fast early, but Hassan hangs in there, and all are rewarded with a surprise chocolate cake from dad!