Before I review this delightful book, I would like to make a public service announcement of sorts. It is not Hajj season, not even close. I pre-ordered this book on June 23 from Amazon, I should have/was supposed to have it before Hajj in the middle of July. I got it TODAY! When I realized that the US publication date was delayed for a book already published in the UK, I reached out to Kube Publishing and they suggested trying “an independent bookseller such as IslamicBookstore.com or CrescentMoonStore.com.” I know this. Noura is a dear friend, but I messed up. Please don’t do the same. SUPPORT LOCAL BOOKSELLERS! I’m sorry, lesson learned.
Now back to the book that already feels like a classic staple that needs to be on every Muslim families book shelf, and in every public learning space for non Muslims to enjoy and benefit from as well. The 31 page “inspirational, semi-fictional narrative” is perfect for ages two to seven as it mimics the beloved Eric Carle and Bill Martin, Jr. classic, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? but framed around Hajj and what is seen, done, and heard. Each two page spread begins with, “Hajji, hajji…”.
The book starts with a detailed Note to Parents and Teachers that explains the points to highlight, and discuss with children. The story is then organized by the steps of hajj in broad strokes and illustrated with both charm and detail that will hold readers and listeners attention.
Hajji, hajji what did you wear?
I wore two white sheets
And my shoulder was bare.
The book starts with the little boy narrator on the plane looking down on the clouds and sea. He then puts on his two sheets, hears the call to prayer, sees the black stone and the station of Ibrahim before he makes his seven tawaafs, runs between safa and marwa and heads to Mina. He prays at Arafat like the Prophet (saw) did, and falls asleep in the cold night desert air. He sees stones being thrown and eats meat on Eid before getting his head shaved. The book concludes with a glossary.
The book is well done and is a great mix of information and entertainment, alhumdulillah.