Ali the Great and the Market Mishap

Capstone/Picture Window. (Ali the Great). Aug. 2023. 32p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781484681138.
Gr 1-3–Readers meet Ali Tahir, a second-grade Pakistani American boy, in Faruqi’s newest early chapter book. First, they can explore the guide to Ali’s family members and learn some important Urdu words with pronunciation help. Next, readers follow Ali, his little brother Fateh, and grandfather Dada to the South Asian market on a hunt for snacks. While Dada goes to find the items on his list, Ali is tasked with watching his little brother, and “one thing Fateh was good at was trouble.” In their short time at the market, Ali avoids chip-display destruction and finds his escape artist of a brother before his Dada finds out about his (nearly) missing sibling. This supermarket adventure is written with large black text, with plenty of spacing and relatively simple vocabulary for newly independent readers. The joyful cartoon illustrations on nearly every page are simple and not overwhelming. Following the main text is a page of jokes; a description of Pakistani snacks, like crispy nimko and kulfi; and a few discussion questions for readers.
VERDICT A strong, charming first purchase for any library.

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