A creative, fun introduction to Islam.



From the Muslim Book of Concepts series

A counting book takes readers on a tour of the Islamic faith.

“One is the morning sun” as a multigenerational Muslim family awakes to the first adhaan (call for prayer). “Two are hands for making dua” as they utter morning invocations. In this fashion, the book moves through the numbers one to 10 as the family members, including two children, carry out various religious practices and traditions. As Khan explains in a closing author’s note, the book steers clear of abstract concepts (like five for the five pillars of Islam) and instead presents “concrete and illustratable terms” to help children “focus on things we can count in the world around us.” Thus, readers see five cups of tea being served at a halaqa (religious study group) with family friends, 10 pairs of shoes that the characters have removed from their feet before salah (formal worship), and three bags of donations being prepared for sadaqa (almsgiving). Exquisite, colorful mixed-media illustrations depict a setting that could be Iran (Amini’s ancestral homeland) and showcase the aesthetics of Islamic art, from textile patterns to architectural ornamentation. This concept book complements the creators’ Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns (2012) and Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets (2018), about colors and shapes, respectively. Some readers may disagree with certain spelling choices, such as salah instead of sala or salat. A helpful glossary explains key terms and could be critical for non-Muslim readers. Muslims are portrayed diversely in terms of dress, physical appearance, and race.

A creative, fun introduction to Islam. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8272-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.


A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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