I was excited to see publishing company DK add this Ramadan book to their board book selection, but overall it didn’t wow me, or even really impress me. It has realistic pictures of diverse Muslims celebrating Ramadan, simple text, and bright images, but it read awkward as it switched between first and third person, realistic and stock looking images, and not terribly enticing with slightly faded mehndi and unexplained foods. There are better board books out there for babies and toddlers than this 12 page mainstream published one. If you can find it at the library, sure check it out, but I’d save my money on purchasing it.
The book starts out saying Muslims follow Islam and Ramadan is a special month in Islam. It features a a man holding a little girl and both are people of color. The opposite page is a cartoonish crescent moon saying it is the start of Ramadan.
The next page has a plate of realistic deviled eggs on a bright background stating that many Muslims fast, don’t eat from sunrise to sunset. It also states that the meal before dawn is called suhoor or sehri. I’m not sure why Urdu is included with the traditional Arabic and no other languages are mentioned.
The next page then shows a little girl praying and switches to present tense first person and says “Let’s pray…” followed by a little boy reading Quran and stating that reading Quran helps us learn about Islam. It then switches back to declarative 3rd person saying that people break their fasts before sunset prayers and shows a bowl of dates.
A family is then shown breaking their fast with a meal known as iftar and the reader is urged to pick their favorite sweet to eat from a plate of different shaped baklava. There is no description about the baklava and I don’t know how enticing they would be if you have never tasted it before.
The book concludes with the same cartoonish night sky and silhouetted masjids saying the crescent has been seen, Ramadan is over and tomorrow is Eid. The last page is a girls hand saying , “Let’s celebrate Eid by making henna patterns on our hands.”
I think the idea is good, but I feel like it doesn’t answer many questions about Ramadan and Muslims and probably makes the religion and celebrations seem foreign and odd, presumably the opposite effect. I admittedly haven’t read the other holiday books in the series and am not a baby expert, so perhaps I’m really critical and missing the developmental reasoning behind the presentation. But I don’t know that this book is fun or really informative for any age, it just seems random.