Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

illus. by Mehrdokht Amini. 36p. glossary. Chronicle. Apr. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452155418.
OrangeReviewStarK-Gr 4—A follow-up to Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by the same team, this appealing and well-designed picture book has great potential for cross-curricular use. Khan blends geometry terms (arch, hexagon, cone) and vocabulary about Islam in gentle couplets rich with sensory detail. Amini's vividly colored spreads use patterns and architectural elements from classical Islamic art, enlivened with whimsical additions, such as a tabby cat that appears on several pages. Although Amini's style is painterly overall, subtle photographic elements add dimensionality and specificity to clothing, meals, and setting, all of which shift at each turn of the page to depict different countries. A multiracial cast, large eyed and expressive in gesture, engages in ritual acts including washing before prayers (wudu), using a drum (daff) in celebration, and reading an ayah (verse) of the Quran. Khan's accessible text is lyrical ("square is a garden with sweet orange trees, a hint of jannah on its fragrant breeze") but simple enough for younger readers. A glossary gives clear definitions of the Arabic terms (although not the geometry words) and an author's note explains why shapes and patterns are so important in Muslim artistic traditions.
VERDICT This affirming child's-eye view of Islamic religious practices will be a strong addition to most collections.

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