“Sarah looked out of the window. She was very sad. It would soon be Eid, and she still did not have a gift for her mother.”
The Perfect Gift is nothing short of a perfect picture book. It is a heartwarming story of a young girl in search of a gift to give her mother for Eid. A walk in the snowy woods reveals an unexpected gift.
The author, J. Samia Mair, does a wonderful job in getting readers interested in the story from the start. Readers explore the outdoors with Sarah and just like her, feel the joy and happiness in finding something that makes a beautiful gift. Readers also delight in the other ‘perfect gifts’ that Sarah and her family find every time they walk through the woods.
Like a good picture book, the illustrator does a superb job of capturing the flow of the story through the use of soft watercolours. The illustrations in this book are a clear example of what good quality illustrations in children’s books should be like.
The Perfect Gift is a celebration of the beauty of Allah’s creation. A hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “Allah is beautiful and love beauty” is seamlessly integrated into the narration. The book is also about finding unexpected sources of delight and wonder in the simplest things that surround you.
A glossary at the end explains the Islamic terms used in the book.
Talking Points: The story is set at the time of Eid ul Adha, tough nothing pertaining to the religious aspects of the event is given. It’s also set in early Spring. Depending on where you live, you can talk about the winter/spring seasons and what happens to animals and plants during this time. Take your children of students on a walk through a natural setting outdoors and talk about what kinds of “perfect gifts” you see. Let children draw pictures and even write stories about what they find. Talk about Allah as Al Khaliq who created all the beautiful things around us. Ask children how they can enjoy nature without destroying it.
Title: The Perfect Gift
Author: J. Samia Mair
Illustrator: Craigh Howarth
Publishers: The Islamic Foundation (UK)
Reading Level: 5 – 7 years
Interest Level: 4 – 8 years
Also by J. Samia Mair, Amira’s Totally Chocolate World (see review on the blog here)