Tag Archives: small book

Our Superhero Edhi Baba written and illustrated by Maria Riaz

Our Superhero Edhi Baba written and illustrated by Maria Riaz


This is a hard review to write.  I have been trying to get this book in my hands since it was published and just could not.  I’d ask people to bring it from Pakistan, or try and order it on Amazon to find it out of stock.  And then finally I was fortunate that my cousin was able to purchase it for me, get it to my dad who was visiting Karachi, my dad then mailed it to me within the U.S. and voila a book that sells online for $15 (and is currently in stock) in my hand for RS 475 (less than $3), I mention this because if I had paid $15 for a 7×7 inch book that has only 16 pages, I’d be grumpy.  Having paid less than $3 (plus shipping) and involved multiple family members in the process, if I’m honest, I’m still a little disappointed with.


The book is beautifully illustrated, the author is the illustrator so why not make the book larger, so the illustrations could be appreciated?  The book is really short and very vague, even the note at the end could provide so much more about this national hero, his accomplishments, his struggles, his goals, his legacy.  And I’m not sure why it doesn’t.


The book is framed with kids presenting superheroes in class: Superman, Hulk, Spiderman, etc., two kids wearing grey shirts and white pants start their presentation about Edhi.


In rhyming lines the kids talk about how Edhi’s mother would give to the needy and how he continued this giving whatever he could spare from a young age.  How giving everyday made his heart grow big.  He gave to everyone and didn’t discriminate based on skin.  It mentions that he started an ambulance service and we should follow his plan of helping and donating.


The note at the end talks about how to donate and how superheroes have big hearts and share not just with people they like, but even people they don’t like.  The author then says that she donates money and skill.


The writing is clear enough for the sparse words on the page.  I don’t want to critique a Pakistani writing rhymes in British English, because I speak one language, and clearly realize the beauty in being able to speak and write and convey in more than one language, but it is a bit awkward in parts.


The idea of the book is beautiful.  Edhi was a humanitarian that needs recognition both within Pakistan and abroad.  But, I really wish this book had a bit more substance to it.  I think it can get a conversation going with little kids, but older kids will find it very generic, and unless a nearby adult can add to the story, it sadly won’t be remembered.


A portion of the book goes to support edhi.org, but it doesn’t specify how much.

(size reference):


Bismillah Little Leyla by Qura Abid illustrated by Mona Ismail

Bismillah Little Leyla by Qura Abid illustrated by Mona Ismail


I thought this book might be leveled- reader type based on the binding and page numbers (26), but it reads more like a picture book with its repetitive refrain, and honestly the awkward small size (5×8) makes it feel like a pamphlet.  So, I’m not sure who it is trying to appeal to, and unfortunately is a great example of how the outward presentation killed an otherwise decent book.  I also don’t know who is to blame for the final physical product, the author, the publisher, the printer? But at a $10 price point, I’m not sure anyone who purchases this book is going to be happy with the size and binding, and the book will simply get lost on a book shelf, and be forgotten.


The premise of the book is good.  Rather than just tell kids to say Bismillah before they do anything, Little Leyla actually does it in the course of a morning.  I like that it shows that we say Bismillah before we do all types of things, not just before we eat or get in a car, but even when we swing and play a game or put on a jacket.


The climax of the book is Leyla saying bismillah, shooting a goal and scoring against her dad.  The lesson being that Allah is always there to help us.


I’ve read the book a dozen times, to myself and aloud, and I think the book has a natural cadence based on the diction and sentence length, and I think it wants to rhyme.  Additionally, after each example and on nearly every page, the refrain at the end of the paragraph is (nearly) the same:  “What must she say? Leyla knows! Do you? It’s Bismillah!”  The repetition makes it memorable, but with the sing song beat and on and off, often forced, rhyme, I find myself tripping over the words a lot, and I cant quite put my finger on why.  If the book were larger, and I were using it for a preschool story time, I would just have to practice it a few times, but there is no way, sadly,  you could read this book to a group if you want them to see the pictures.


The illustrations might be ok, it might also be a presentation thing that makes them look washed out OR maybe that is how they are, I’m not sure. The detail and expressions are there, they just kinda seem faded.   Concept wise I like that they show the dad cooking and Mom playing soccer. The mom wears hijab she the family seems warm and happy.


Thanks again to crescentmoonbooks.com for the excellent customer service and selection.