By Elizabeth Wroten
Picture Book Review: Fasting and Dates by Jonny Zucker
On 23, Jun 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
From Goodreads: Books in the “Festival Time” series describe the activities of typical families as parents and children celebrate some of their culture s major holidays. Attractive color illustrations on every page will appeal to younger children. The simply yet delightfully told stories describe the festivities while giving children background information about holidays in many different cultures. A two-page spread at the back of each book contains information for parents, and includes suggestions on ways to communicate the holiday s meaning to kids.
The book, narrated by a little Muslim girl wearing a hijab, is a mix of story and non fiction. While she shares the various points of Ramadan, what it is, what they do during the month, its culmination in Eid, it’s clear that the book is following her family through Ramadan. It’s nonfiction, but reads and looks more like a storybook.
The simple text, gentle pictures and easy-to-understand language make this a great book to read with very young children (I might even say it would be a good one for storytime). I think you could share it with a young Muslim child to help explain the holiday they are celebrating. I do think Muslim kids can/would appreciate this more at a younger age than non-Muslim kids simply because they will have experienced the holiday before. The mix of story and fact make it feel less like an explanatory text for non-Muslims and more like something any child could enjoy.
My one complaint is the author. He was clearly hired to write this book and several others in the series. From his biography that I could find, he doesn’t appear to be Muslim. However, the information here is meant for young readers and isn’t overly complicated so, at least to me, another non-Muslim, it rang true. This was certainly better than the Rookie-Read About Ramadan book I reviewed yesterday and it’s geared toward the same age group. I would recommend it if you have a younger population in your library and want to share information about Ramadan.