A Trust of Treasures (Book Review)

A Trust of Treasures by Maehded Maryam Sinclair

image source: amazon.com

 

Long ago, the universe was humming praises for its Creator,
But there was no one to stand still and listen, and say “Ahhh.”
The stars were whirling and glittering in the night sky,
But there was no one to be dazzled by them and discern their patterns.
The moon was waxing and waning in its orbit,
But there was no one to measure its phases or count their days by it… 
     

A Trust of Treasures is as much pleasure to read as it is to look at. Children and adults alike will be mesmerised by the poetic narration and vivid images. It is a beautiful, subtle reminder of the responsibility that human beings must have toward the world in which they live.      

Mehded Maryam Sinclair takes the reader on a journey through the universe where we see all the beautiful creations of Allah (referred to in the book as “The Power of the One”) at work and in motion. From the solar system to the depths of the sea, from the fields of wheat to the dry desert where little grows; the ants, the sheep, the bees; everything living according to the Creator’s plan. Then we are told that Adam (the first man) and those after him were created not just to praise and remember the One, who created the world; but to care for, respect and responsibly use what they have been given.      

As the book is a feast for the eyes, the storytelling (available separately on audio CD) is a feast for the ears. The story is told with such beauty it leaves an indelible impression on the listener whether child or parent. Listen to the story here.      

While A Trust of Treasures is a great reminder of the beauty and resources of the world that Allah created for us to find happiness and sustenance in, the writer does not show us how much human beings have failed to take care of it; how the treasures have been exploited. Perhaps, such a description is not needed since the evidence of the destruction that we have caused is everywhere around. In fact, it is reassuring to read, listen and be reminded of the beauty of this world as it once was, of the power of the Creator and of our need to be thankful for all that we have been given.      

A Trust of Treasures is definitely a book you will want to add to your home library collection and makes a wonderful gift to give as well. It is also a good addition to the collections of school and public libraries. In the classroom children can listen to the telling of the story after having read the book.     

Title: A Trust of Treasures (also available separately in audio CD)
Author: Mehded Maryam Sinclair
Illustrator: Angela Desira
Publisher: The Islamic Foundation
Date: 2008
ISBN: 9780860374626
Reading/Listening Level: Read Aloud/Listen: any age; Read on Own: 5+      

Also by this author is the book, Miraculous Happenings in the Year of the Elephant. This story along with The Bowing of the Stars (Story of Prophet Yusuf) and A Mercy to the Worlds (Story of Prophet Muhammad) are stories written and narrated by the author, who is also a trained storyteller, and are available on audio CD. Listen to samples of these stories at the author’s blog and website.  

It’s Story Time (Media Review)

 

photo source: 1 Islam
Being the Guide to Muslim Children’s Books and Media, I thought it was about time that I did a review of some type of media. Today I want to talk about a DVD for children called “It’s Story Time: The Story of Adam & The Story of Noah.” 

From the beginning we are pulled into a beautiful world with sounds of birds whistling sweetly in the background. A menu at the start allows viewers to select a chapter (story, nasheed or game). The feature presentations are stories of two Prophets of Allah, Adam and Nuh (spelled Noah in the DVD). Added features include two nasheed videos and two simple games.

Young viewers will immediately be drawn to the DVD when they see groups of children talking together and to the camera about what they know of the story of the first man Allah created, Adam. Older children will find themselves following the text on the screen when the story itself is being narrated. Animations of nature provide the backdrop to the narration.

In the second story (The Story of Noah), we see more animation with shadows and images of people (faces are not shown) but the text still appears for viewers to follow along. While younger viewers may not be able to read the text, they will still be captivated by the moving scenery.

Viewers will welcome the challenge to remember some facts about the story of Adam through a quiz with Zaky (a bear that appears at the start). Younger children will like trying to figure out the names of some of the animals who boarded the ark in the story of Noah in the “Guess what is the Animal” game. The nasheed “I’m growing up, InshaAllah” by Shaheed Alkawn shares the moving story of Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham) and reminds viewers that they are growing up “to serve Allah.” Unfortunately the animation in the video tells of a different story (how the first filming of the DVD began) taking away from the powerful message of the nasheed.

The “It’s Story Time: The Story of Adam & The Story of Noah”DVD (see a short clip here)is undoubtedly a high quality production from the graphics, images, sounds, games and script. I believe the appearance of the children and the added features including games really make this DVD unique. This DVD as well as others (including one of the story of Prophet Ibrahim) by 1 Islam Productions are a great addition to any home or classroom collection.


  

Title of DVD: It’s Story Time: The Story of Adam & The Story of Noah
Producer: 1 Islam Productions
Date: 2005
Running Time: 35 mins.
Country of Origin: Australia
Subject: Prophets and Messengers, Allah
Age group: 5 – 12 years