This sweet board book is part of a series, the other two books are Japan and France, releasing in October. All are brightly illustrated, 20 page books for ages zero to four and take the littlest of readers into a country, through sights, experiences, foods and language. This particular book does not feature any visible #muslimsintheillustrations but the author is Muslim, and so I am reviewing and sharing it here.
The framing of the book is a day in the life of a little girl, who wakes up with bosas from her mama and baba and greetings of Ahlan. Some of the words are written in Arabic script with the English transliteration and pronunciation provided, other times it is just the English transliteration of the Arabic with the pronunciation asterisked and written smaller immediately below the text.
Once she is awake, she gets dressed, brushes her teeth and is off with her baba to buy pita and ful. The busy street offers sights to see and fruits to pick from. She ponders and asks herself and the readers which one to choose.
At her Teita and Geddos there is dancing and tabla playing before walking back home along the Corniche. Dinner is served and bedtime has arrived. The book concludes with a summary of her day linking the Arabic words to the illustrations and English meaning, as well as some pronunciation tips for the Arabic sounds.
As a Muslim reviewer I had to hope there might be one hijab clad woman in the illustrations, I know many Muslims don’t cover and Egypt is diverse, but considering the lens I review from, I feel obligated to state that opinion.
A little more critically, I was a bit surprised on the page with the colorful boats that the color names yellow, blue, and purple, were not included in Arabic and only in English. Seemed that would have been an naturally and easy inclusion.
Overall, the book did a good job of celebrating Egypt without over explaining, keeping it bright and engaging for toddlers. I really like the language being shared in a story context, not just a book with a picture on it and words in different languages. I also liked that while the details were Egypt specific, there were also pages that were universal.
Available for preorder and purchase here