I don’t often do two books in the same series, let alone three, but for as much as I enjoyed Hassan and Aneesa Love Ramadan and Hassan and Aneesa Celebrate Eid, I was a little disappointed in this story. For starters, the title seems like it should read, Go to “the” Masjid, no?
The story starts off with the notion that this is Aneesa’a first time to the masjid, which seems bit off. Presumably mom and Hassan have been before, but mom’s excitement, and Hassan’s questions through the book, and knowledge about masjid etiquette make you wonder if it is their first time too. A little odd, if you’ve read their other books, but ok, I’ll accept it and move on.
The family starts by marveling at the exterior architecture. They enter and separate, Hassan going with his dad and Aneesa going with her mom, as it points out that men and women pray in separate areas. It is a good tidbit of information, but again, it just seems a bit off in the way it is phrased that Aneesa wouldn’t know this.
The tone of the book is almost negative, again, a striking contrast to the other stories. Aneesa splashes and wastes water when making wudu, doesn’t she make wudu at home? And the mom gets her clothes ruined in the process making her upset. The illustration shows her to look really mad!
I would think a little context about not wasting water or even sharing the hadith about not wasting even if making wudu in a river, would have been a great lesson to convey, but instead the pictures show a lot of water by others also being wasted, and only mom looking really frustrated.
The two of them, put their shoes up and marvel at the dome and the soft carpet. Aneesa then sees that the ladies prayer area over looks the mens and she begins screaming for Hassan. Her mom corrects her and points out that “you should speak quietly in a masjid. You might disturb someone if you shout.”
Hassan turns and waves, and then rushes off to see a school friend. But, first he is reproached for nearly walking in front of someone praying. Again a good tidbit, but the phrasing of how the information is shared is rather negative, and these repetitive reprimands don’t make the book joyful.
Hassan then learns about he mihrab and the mimbar before the athan is called and they all pray. After salat they put some sadaqa in a box and the family heads home.
The illustrations are as sweet as ever, and the price very reasonable, but this book, compared to others in the series, is really wordy and there is a lot of text on EVERY one of the 20 pages.
The framing of the book is awkward, thus making some of the behavior issues come off as negative, it is a minor thing that keeps the book from being great. If the premise would have been maybe the kids talking about their favorite things about the masjid and reminding themselves to talk quiet and not waste water, the tone overall would have been lighter while still being really informative.
If this is your first Hassan and Aneesa book, you might not be bothered, but if you find it a little off putting, try the other two. The books says for ages 2 and up, but I think it would be better for 4 and up. The younger kids you could tell them the story while showing them the pictures: what to expect at the mosque and how to behave, but there are too many words, and they will probably have a hard time staying focused. Older four and five year olds, will enjoy seeing things they recognize and maybe learning some of the vocabulary for the architecture and being reminded on proper behavior at the masjid.