I would imagine if you were to pitch the idea of this book it would go very favorably. A raindrop goes on an adventure to a desert kingdom after facing adversity for being small, an ocean wave wants to consume her, a chance encounter with a grain of sand and confidence in Allah swt to keep them safe leads to refuge being offered in an oyster who journeys them through the ocean to salam its inhabitants only to wash up near the palace and at the feet of a prince who has been searching for a treasure for his mother’s crown. The problem comes in its delivery. It is told in rhyme that is incredibly forced and trying to do too much. It is a 32 page children’s picture book trying to blend religion, science, adventure, and two points of view. It needs to be clear, not concerned with a rhyme scheme that muddles the themes. The book has potential and with the QR code and online teaching resources I could see an Islamic school teacher using this to explain how a pearl is formed and the incredibleness of one of Allah’s creations, but it will take a lot of outside explanation. I am confident that no four to six year old is going to independently understand clearly what is going on. I myself had to read it multiple times to figure out what was going on, and even then I found more holes, inconsistencies, and head shaking then there should have been in a large, glossy, well illustrated, effort filled book.
A tiny droplet wants to be free, but this personified little water being’s friends tell her only great things live in the kingdom and she is too small. Not sure how greatness and physical size become synonymous, but they do apparently. So, on a windy day, the raindrop jumps out of the sky to join the ocean as a means to reach the kingdom. A hurricane, or wind gale, catches her and she collides with a grain of sand. But the pov switches, and the sand collides with her and it hurts the sand. Grain apologizes and Droplet says not to worry she she is heading to the ocean too. Grain warns her that the ocean isn’t safe, that there is a big wave who will consume them. Droplet says she isn’t afraid and trusts Allah swt will keep them safe. The wave threatens to chase them with all its pride (?) if they dare to run and hide. The pair find an oyster to hide in and they swim with the tide. The oyster is bothered by their tiny feet so he throws them a blanket. The wave continues to give chase, but they trust Allah swt and after months and days they wash up on the kingdoms shore.
The book then pivots and focuses on a young prince who is searching for a gem for his mother the Queen. Her crown has lost its shine. He has travelled for months and day through mountains and valleys to no avail. One day while walking, back home on the beach, he hears voices hoping for safety from the wave. Droplet and Grain think the wave has perhaps finally got them, but it is the prince opening the oyster and finding just the gem he needs. The book concludes with the pearl saying “Alhumdulillah” to the distant stormy sky, “All things can live in the kingdom and its palace rising high.”
So my questions, first I’m not sure how a droplet isn’t free, is there only one wave in the ocean? Who is talking at the end, obviously the anthropomorphism as a science lesson kind of hits a dead end, it went from two talking objects to one new talking object, so thats creepy. Wouldn’t it have been better to end when the gem was found and then have an info or fact page highlighting how pearls are made, having two distinct characters morph into one is a bit jarring story wise. The concept of the kingdom not allowing in little things, and then concluding that all things are welcome, is also so painfully underdeveloped. Even little readers are going to find that assumption so off the mark. I like that they trust Allah, but Droplet keeps saying she isn’t scared, but continues to run? swim? The duo don’t want to be consumed, but essentially aren’t they consumed by the oyster? The Pearl feels like it beat the wave despite its size, but it was the other drops that were telling Droplet she was too small, not the wave.
All confusion aside, my kids and I might just not be the ideal readers. My six year old didn’t know what a pearl was, so he was incredibly confused. I thought the book was going to be about the water cycle, so it took me a minute to realize that wasn’t where the story was going. There is a QR code on the front and if you go to the website a number of resources are available https://www.lotehouse.com/product-page/the-tale-of-a-tiny-droplet. I wish there was info within the binding though to explain the process of sand and water in an oyster making a pearl and I wish a heavy handed editor would have cleaned up the text. Sadly, a potential great book mixing adventure, science and deen just really missed the mark.