Book By Ediba Kezzeiz.
Last few days of Ramadan and I think it’s just enough time to squeeze in a review for a Ramadan book you might not have come across. This one is ideal for a child who may be ready for the next step after picture books.
I must admit I was quite surprised to come across this book when a fellow Muslim mama posted a photo of her library ‘book haul’ online. My eyes scanned the titles, most of which us mothers gleaning out ‘fun islamic children’s literature’ – are already familiar with. All are wonderful books like, ‘Ramadan Moon‘, ‘Under The Ramadan Moon’, ‘My First Ramadan’ … but the zealous reader and mother that I am we either already owned them or had at some point read them in the past. All except one.
How is it that I had never come across this rather dog-eared book with a delightfully ‘vintage’ look to it from the quirky two tone illustrations to the adorable name of the protagonist mouse in the title ‘Fasfoose’?
I took a quick screenshot of the photo and presented it to our lovely children’s librarian at our next library pit stop! She had to order it in for us and when we collected it – it was as if I had received the exact same copy my friend had posted. A worn out shabby little book that prompted me to look for its print date straight away.
Printed in 1996 I was again surprised as to why I had never come across this book in my own childhood. My parents bought every book available at the time that was islamically inclined and written for children so I was familiar with all the old classics of Islamic Foundation fame and beyond.
Upon further investigation I learnt that ‘The Ramadan Adventure Of Fasfoose Mouse’ was a somewhat familiar book for a few fellow mamas who had all grown up in North America, so maybe that was the reason it had slipped under the radar of my British childhood?!
Well, my American children were going to be read this story that night and I couldn’t wait to discover it with them!
An engaging chapter book with 4 short chapters and just one or two illustrations per chapter, the story is about a friendship forged between a mouse and a little girl who is part of a Muslim family observing Ramadan. The book begins with Fasfoose the mouse wondering why, these days in particular, ‘the big people’ are not leaving any crumbs for the mouse family to feed off. Fasfoose goes on to learn all about Ramadan, the Ramadan moon and about Eid with both a little rescue operation and tiny ‘scare’ thrown in. All ends well though for Jamilla and Fasfoose as they blissfully fall asleep on the night before Eid.
I absolutely loved the little mouse family. Fasfoose and his mischievous little brothers Taktook and Nafnoof (what amazing little monikers!) are a lovely addition to your child’s ramadan character list. The ‘voice’ of the narrative is calm, and natural with sweet details that make it endearing and the story has the potential to become a traditional Ramadan bedtime read for years to come.
It definitely makes a difference, I think, for the book to be read during Ramadan … we read this near the beginning of the month and at one point where the girl is describing eid to ‘Fasfoose Mouse’ my 5 year old listening to the story in the top bunk of the bed he shares with his little sister got up to do a little excited jig, the snow leopard soft toy that is his sleeping buddy these days, going flying in the process. Yes he literally jumped and screamed in anticipation of Eid and I was happy to see such engagement with the story being read.
Only a couple of small drawbacks, that I feel ought to be mentioned~
Namely that it could be illustrated and typeset better, however, printed at a time before computer aided publishing was made accessible, I really do admire those pioneers of Muslim children’s literature – it must not have been so easy to publish a story like this back then.
I’ll leave you with a mini question and answer session with said 5 year old, if you’d like to hear it from his point of view!
Describe what the book was about? ‘Here is a book about Ramadan and it has a mouse in it that a little girl kept a secret about’
What was your favourite part of the book? My favourite part was the part where it described how the girl helped the mouse family to find a new secret home (as with most children he was intrigued by imagining the kind of uses a tiny anthropomorphic mouse would have for the everyday objects used by humans )
How did the book make you feel? It made me feel like I had to SCREAM about eid.
Who would you recommend this book for ? I would recommend this book for ‘Victor’. (His 6yr old neighbour) !
(I just love that he didn’t think the book only had to be read to a ‘Muslim child’)
I would love to know if like me, this book is a new find for you or whether it’s been an old classic in your own childhood?