This is the second review of a Zaydo Potato book on the blog, and much like the first book this one caters to toddler and early elementary aged children who will enjoy the large colorful pages, the silliness of finding a potato on each page, and who can benefit from the repetition of events to understand a concept. In this 32 page book the concept being conveyed is taking care of each other, as established by the hadith at the beginning of the book.
Zaydo and Raya dress up as superheroes, but find their power in saving the day involves using their capes, and masks, and belts, and gloves, to help those around them who can benefit more. They use a bandana to sling a hurt arm, a towel cape to cover a spill, and silly gloves to make a baby stop crying. They call themselves Muslim Superheroes and after showing the reader that it is good to help one another, praise Allah, and do what is right, they ask if you want to join their force.
I read the book to my own children and then to a group of about 25 kids under the age of 6 and it went over pretty well. The amount of text on a page is sufficient to convey the repetitive scenarios. Honestly, I don’t really understand why the book takes place in Ramadan. Other than the first page saying that they are the fasters of Ramadan days, and the last page repeating it, there is nothing Ramadan specific about the story. In fact the Grandma is drinking tea on the first page, so yes maybe she is excused, but it is a bit confusing to have the Ramadan element in there when it is not a facet of the story at all.
The word ‘super’ is used a lot, and if reading it aloud can get your tongue a bit tied. I also don’t understand why Raya has a last name or second part to her name, Raya Amaraya, maybe to go with the rhyming of Zaydo Potato? Either way by adding super, before their names, and the rhyming second name, I felt like a lot of the book was just saying names. The only other critique of an other wise solid book about teaching kids how to truly be super in a practical way, is that the Grandma is in a lot of the pictures in the background sewing so that when she surprises them with real costumes, the kids can enjoy going back and see she was working on them the whole time. Except I thought, my kids thought, and the story time kids all thought she was knitting, and the costumes don’t look knitted, so it is a bit jarring. On closer inspection there is just one needle, not two, but it is really large, almost crochet hook size, so a sewing machine illustration would have been a much better choice.
The activities and lessons at the end and the founding premise of the book really make the book an important one to share with your little ones. The binding and glossy pictures of smiling children having fun will entertain and educate them at the same time. My critiques are small, but I feel like a few test readings by the authors, and the minor quirks could have been eliminated all together.