At 22 pages this book’s title aptly describes the contents within: at times factual, sometimes breaking down the fourth wall and asking readers to do something engaging, at times fictionalized, and often meandering and reflective. The book is all over the place and only cohesive in theme. It has sat on my shelf untouched by my children for quite a while, but when I needed options for the library during Earth Day, this book did a great job in facilitating discussion with pre k to 1st grade. It isn’t a story time book so to speak, but it gets kids thinking and can be tailored to their level of discussion. I don’t think that is how the book was intended, and as it is written it is rather unimpressive, but when pulled apart it did serve a very specific purpose.
The book starts out with a few lines about Allah’s blessings of all things particularly trees and plants and gardens. I wasn’t sure if it was trying to rhyme or not, but I think the first lines are just incidental rhyme as the flow and words quickly unravel. It talks of climbing trees and the narrator’s father telling him to be careful. It then discusses watermelons and how they grow in the ground, not on a tree and asks readers if they can see the watermelon seeds in the illustrations.
The book focuses on the life cycle of plants: seeds, flowers, trees. Drawing on that information it then shows the little girl collecting seeds to plant. It then talks about the planting process and the needs all growing things have to prosper if Allah so wills it.
Then the book gets interesting and starts to discuss the plants mentioned in the Qur’an before returning back to the half hearted narrative remarking on how the flowers complement the color of their house.
The story seems to then end, but it isn’t denoted that the remaining pages are factual or set aside as back matter, it just pivots and begins discussing rain in Surah an-Nahl, Trees in Paradise as mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith, and then again, but this time in table form, the fruits and vegetables mentioned in the Qur’an, and highlighting dates specifically.
The book is all over the place, and I doubt it will be read again until next year. There are a few other books that have come out about his topic, and I plan to look in to them to see if they work better for story time readings and child engagement.