This delightful little story about a boy, a lost cat, Ramadan and making friends, has a great lesson in empathy and understanding even when things are hard. The 28 page beautifully illustrated glossy book (8.5 x 11) is set in Ramadan, but is enjoyable for children 5 to 9 all year long.
Saleem has just moved to a new city with his parents and doesn’t know anyone. Feeling lonely on the first day of Ramadan he is outside sulking when he sees a lost little cat. He brings it in and his parents help him take care of him until they can find the cat’s owners.
Saleem decides to call the cat, Rami the Ramadan cat for his timely appearance. The next day the family makes flyers to post around to try and find Rami’s owner. But no luck even after a few weeks, and secretly Saleem starts hoping they never find the owners. Rami is his best friend, he jumps on Saleem when he is praying, keeps him company when he reads Quran, even shares his iftar with him.
One night at the mosque, Saleem makes Dua that Rami will stay with him forever. After Taraweeh, Saleem can’t find his father, he waits by the door as everyone leaves, but can’t see him, he checks the shoe rack and his shoes are gone. Feeling scared and alone he wonders if his father left him. When his father returns from the washroom, Saleem is relieved, but wonders if that is how Rami felt that first day of Ramadan.
The next morning Saleem and his mom knock on every door in the neighboorhood until they find Rami’s owner. When they find her, she is a nice lady, and tell Saleem, the cat’s name is Sammy. Rami gives her his address and asks her to contact him if she ever needs someone to cat-sit Rami.
Saleem’s Eid isn’t very fun without his only friend. After prayers, there is a knock at the door, Sammy’s owner has come to offer to let Saleem keep Rami if he promises to bring him around to visit with her and her grandkids sometime. She has other cats and sensed that he was missing Saleem.
Saleem’s parents invite the lady, Mrs. Tompkins and her grand kids in to celebrate eid with them and Saleem and the children play with Rami, the best eid present ever.
The book shows Saleem praying and reading Quran and going to the masjid, but it isn’t preachy. I think even non Muslims would enjoy the book and not be confused by anything Saleem and his family are doing.
I love that the mom so clearly wears hijab out of the house, but not in the house. That there is some skin color diversity in the book, that Mrs. Tompkins is in a wheel chair. I also love that the new friends, and only friends are presumably non Muslim, and that a little gray cat brought them all together, Alhumdulillah.