Based on the release date of this book (August), I preordered it in the Spring with the Peg+Cat book thinking they were both about Eid al-Adha. Oops. As someone who reads a lot, I really need to learn how to read. This book is not about Eid al-Adha, it actually mentions Ramadan, but just as a context point, so rather than wait til next Ramadan to post the review, I though, lets do it now and celebrate how much we all have in common and build bridges of friendship across religious lines during this blessed month of Thul Hija.
Set in Brooklyn, New York, Moses and Mohammed live on opposite ends of the same street. One day they accompany their moms to a store in the middle of the street, and when the boys start touching things they shouldn’t their mothers’ reprimands reveal their shared nickname, Mo/Moe.
The boys then pause to look at each other and notice the same dark hair, brown eyes, olive skin, and shy smile. Add in to the mix that one of them has a bouncy ball, and the boys become quick friends, while their mothers shop.
The boys hope to see each other again, but don’t. Weeks pass, and the Feldman family is busy getting ready for Rosh Hashanah and the Hassan family is preparing for Ramadan. Another chance meeting happens at the park, and the boys are thrilled. The mom’s are seen chatting and then, the boys are missing, and the moms are panicked. They are found playing in the dirt, but the relief from the moms, bonds the families who plan an evening picnic together.
The book concludes with the boys in their own homes looking at the same moon and wishing each other a blessed Ramadan and Happy New Year to themselves.
The book reminds me a lot of Yaffa and Fatimah, Shalom, Salaam, in the way the two characters, one of Jewish faith, and one of Muslim, occupy the same environment and come to know and appreciate one another as friends.
The illustrations are by the same artist that illustrated Hena Khan’s color and shape books, and they are vivid and fun. I’ve read the book a few times, and flipped through it a few more times just to marvel at the pictures and the world of these two sweet families.
A great book, that I hope to use in an interfaith story time when the opportunity arises!
Sidenote, the shop keeper is the nicest one ever, he gives the boys taffy, and warm falafel, and doesn’t scold them. The book mentions a few foods and at the end of the book there is a factual paragraph about the holiday and a recipe to try. There is also an Author Note and Illustrator Note at the end of the 48 page book. The book would be perfect for 5-8 year olds, but younger kids and older kids will enjoy the book as well.