Tag Archives: baby

Baby’s First Series: Bismillah by Marwa Ahmed illustrated by Natalia Scabuso

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Baby’s First Series: Bismillah by Marwa Ahmed illustrated by Natalia Scabuso

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Every few years a new Bismillah board book comes out and while after a while they all blur together, this new 2022 version is bright and colorful and at 24 pages a good length to show and teach toddlers when to say Bismillah without boring them.  At this age repetition is key, so while there is no real story, the book highlights familiar activities through the character Maryam and stresses saying Bismillah before you begin them. The book concludes with sourced duas to say when leaving the house, starting a meal, entering a bathroom, and before sleeping, and every morning and evening. I do wish the book would have clearly established that you say Bismillah, before starting anything and everything.  It hints at it at the end saying, “throughout the day, remember to say Bismillah,” but I worry that some kids would take it more literal, that you only say it at the times mentioned in the book, and not that the featured scenarios are just examples.  

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The book begins with Bismillah in Arabic text and the translation before starting the format of Maryam doing something on the left page spread and the saying of Bismillah on the right. So, “Maryam likes taking walks with her day,  When they leave, they say Bismillah.” In this manner Maryam takes the readers to play at the park, eat a meal with vegetables, drink a drink after her meal, read a book, wash before prayer, and get ready for bed.

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The faces of Maryam and other people are never shown, the stuffed animals in her room do not have eyes, although the duck bouncy seat at the park does.  The illustrations are blocky and colorful with the text clear and large.  The duas at the end tell when to say the dua, the dua in Arabic, the translation in English, and the source.

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For where to purchase the book you can visit the publisher’s website: www.litfancyhouse.com

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Alya and the Three Cats by Amina Hachimi Alaoui illustrated by Maya Fidawi

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Alya and the Three Cats by Amina Hachimi Alaoui illustrated by Maya Fidawi

aliya and the three cats

This sweet 32 page book is the purr-fect way to introduce the arrival of a new baby to toddlers and preschoolers.  Instead of siblings preparing for a new arrival, it is three very different cats that need reassurance that there is enough love to go around.

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Minouche, Pasha, and Amir live with their humans Myriam and Sami, and life is good.  Minouche likes to hide, Pasha is regal, and Amir the Siamese is very curious.  One thing they all have in common though, is they like to curl up on Myriam’s belly.3cats1

And her belly is growing! They are finding it harder to fit, and it even moves. Then one day Myriam and Sami leave early in the morning without even saying good-bye.

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Finally she comes home.  She is carrying a basket and disappears in the room without even acknowledging the cats.  The cats sneak in and see a funny little creature that squeaks.

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Grandma steps in to assure the curious little cats that there is enough love for the new baby, Ayla, and them.  Feeling confident, the proud cats take on protecting their little human and the family full of love.

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There isn’t anything Islamic in the book, but it definitely is culturally rich in the names, illustrations and the author is Moroccan.

The sweet book would be a great way to get siblings comfortable with a new one on the way and let them talk about how the cats thought, felt, and handled the change.  Even children not about to have a new addition will find the silliness and sweetness entertaining and enjoyable.  The pictures are gorgeous and fun and the text and presentation perfect for bedtime, story time, and anytime.