The premise is simple, Omar ate something that didn’t belong to him, and the guilt is weighing on him heavily. The beauty of the book is how, with his mom’s help and his own determination, he makes things right.
Set in Egypt, Omar eats the doorman’s baqlawa, and while he knows he shouldn’t have, he doesn’t know what to do about it. The doorman, Amo Mohamed, blames the cat and Omar tries to move past the theft. But the guilt builds up and he even dreams about baqlawa, eventually telling his mom so he can start to fix things.
After isha prayer, the two of them make some new baqlawa. I love that the mom doesn’t get mad, but she is firm that while, “we made the baqlawa together,” she tells him, “you have to talk to Amo Mohamed on your own.”
Omar confesses his crime to the door man and apologizes, Amo Mohamed in turn apologizes to the cat, and all enjoy a piece of baqlawa together with smiles.
The last page in the 38 page book is a glossary and is headed by a hadith by Prophet Muhammad, “Be conscious of God wherever you are. Follow the bad deed with a good one to erase it, and engage others with beautiful character.”
The illustrations aren’t amazing, but they are sufficient and help walk the reader through the story. I like that the mom covers when out and about, but not in the home. The story is great for ages 4 and up, but the amount of text on the page and book length might make independent reading more geared to second and third graders.
The book would work for muslim and non-muslim children a like and does a good job of showing a universal situation in a culturally rich environment.