Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini
Chronicle Books pbk
In this lovely book, a young Muslim girl narrator shares with readers the colours and objects that are a part of her everyday life. She starts with the red prayer mat her father uses five times a day when he faces towards Mecca to pray,
then we see her mum’s blue hijab, the glowing gold of the mosque dome and minarets, the white kufi (the cap her Grandpa wears), the black ink she uses to write Allah in Arabic letters. The verses continue: “Brown is a date,/ plump and sweet/ During Ramadan,/it’s my favourite treat.” Orange is the colour of the henna designs made on the hands,
purple an Eid gift, the zakat box filled with money given to charity during Eid is yellow, the Quran has a green cover, and finally, there is a shiny silver fanoos (lantern).
There is also a glossary which gives succinct explanations of the Islamic terms used and the end papers show beautiful Islamic patterns.
In addition to being a great introduction to the world of Islam, this is an important book now when there is so much misunderstanding and misconception about, and prejudice against, Muslims and their faith (which is essentially peaceful). Here a loving Muslim family is shown in a positive light going about their everyday activities in peace and harmony. Beautiful Islamic designs and patterns abound throughout – on clothes, buildings and other objects:
these are universal and could as easily be found in the UK, India, the USA, the Middle East or any part of the world where there is a Muslim community.
This one should definitely be in every early years classroom or nursery to be shared, enjoyed and discussed.
David Elliott and Sam Zuppardi
As he sits on his bottom stair, a boy shares with readers, his thoughts about perfection – or rather imperfection. Gigi, his little sister is extremely noisy; his best friend, Jack is a bit of a show-off and his mum stubbornly refuses to listen when he explains that it’s his dog Ralphie that should be sitting on the “naughty step” for sleeping on our narrator’s bed, not he himself.
The narrator however, does put his hands up to his main imperfection – messiness
and there’s certainly no getting away from that one. Messiness however, can lead to creativity and
the narrator definitely knows it.
Actually though, Jack’s showing off can sometimes be fun, as can Gigi’s cacophony
and even Mum has times when she does listen and that’s pretty good. Seemingly near perfection will suffice after all.
I love Zuppardi’s exuberant, scribbly style illustrations with their bright acrylic backgrounds and the first person narration works well though there is a slight inconsistency in the pattern of telling.
I Wish You More
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
This little book is brimming over with good wishes – literally.
Every single one of these wishes is one I’d want to give to a young child, indeed to anyone young or old. They are wishes for inner and outer happiness and peace: ‘more ups than downs’, ’ more give than take’,
‘more we than me’ , ‘more hugs than ughs’, ‘more will than hill.’ I particularly like the reflective
Small things? Yes, some perhaps, but profoundly big in impact.
Powerfully and playfully positive and full of love, with occasionally tricky, semantic wordplays that may well need explaining to the very young.
A little gem and one that could be given at birth, a naming, as a valentine’s gift or even perhaps, a wedding.