It has been over four years since I reviewed the first Ibrahim Khan book, and while I didn’t love The Mystery of the Roaring Lion, it was just ok, this book was more fun and adventurous and stayed relevant even for a book published in 2010. At 68 pages the book works ideally for 2nd to 4th graders looking for a quick read, or advanced younger kids that will enjoy the short chapters, detailed illustrations and easy to hold book.
Third grade cousins, Ibrahim and Zayn, are off on a camping trip with their class. Thinking how nice it will be to take a vacation from solving crime, the boys enjoy hearing the story of the haunted lake around the camp fire and not thinking its more than just a story. But the next morning when they wake up for fajr and hear some weird groaning from the woods, they realize they have a case after all.
The mysterious noise presents itself at different times and at different locations, as the boys and their friends work to unravel the clues. The climax gets tense as the whole class is on a moonlight hike when the noise sends them all running and screaming “ghost.” Ibrahim and Zayn, the smart sleuths that they are, find themselves at the culprits tent with the culprits near by. Saved by a classmate, the boys now must now figure out how to prove that the “ghosts” are not just having fun scaring the campers, but are up to some serious crimes that will require police action and being patient.
WHY I LIKE IT:
I love that the boys are Muslim and they wake up and pray and eat vegetarian to ensure they keep halal, and I love that they are also just friends and classmates and kids. There are Muslim and non Muslim kids in the class, at least one girl wears hijab, but it is a diverse group. I like that the characters have their own personalities and they do annoy each other and have to apologize. There does seem to be a lot of characters, and a few times in the short book I had a hard time keeping them all straight, but knowing the real story is the mystery I just keep reading, and figured all the details aside from the clues wouldn’t hold up the story too much.
I don’t know why the author has only written two books in the Ibrahim Khan series, but I hope eventually more will pop up. The books are fun little mysteries that show Muslim characters in action. They learn good manners, cooperation, compromises, prioritizing, and problem solving without the book being in your face about learning all those things. The kids embody them, by being good Muslims and having to rely on one another to save the day.
The book is written in British English and is set in Canada. I bring this up because I didn’t know artifact is spelled artefact and I thought it was an error.
The book is clean alhumdulillah.
TOOLS FOR LEADING THE DISCUSSION:
The length is too short for a book club book, but I think it would be nice to have in a school or classroom library as the bright well-done cover will entice children to pick it up off the shelf and the short quick paced story will motivate kids that start the book to finish it.