The Night Before Eid: A Muslim Family Story

Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. Mar. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316319331.
PreS-Gr 2–Zain’s Teita (Grandma) has just arrived from Egypt and is going to teach him how to make ka’ak, the sweet Eid cookie. The little boy plans to bring the treats to school the next day and share them with his classmates. He is hopeful they will be a hit. As they mix the dough, Teita and his mom tell Zain all about their Eid celebrations back in Egypt; these are beautifully conveyed by illustrations of families staying up all night baking and then distributing the delicacies to family and friends the next morning. As they continue to shape and mold the cookies, there is one moment of panic when Zain drops the mold and is sure he has ruined everything. Luckily, Teita is kind and talks to him about practicing patience. All ends well as Zain himself comes up with a way to rectify it. The next day arrives, and his classmates love the delectable cookies and even ask for the recipe. Not only is there lots to learn from this tale but there is also plenty for young ones to see; the illustrations are done in cozy hues of pink, teal, orange, and black by award-winning illustrator Kheiriyeh. Children will delight in spying Zain’s mischievous black-and-white cat, who is a vital part of the action. Back matter includes a recipe and pictures of the author and her family, as well as an explanation of Eid.
VERDICT A solid and worthwhile purchase.

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