From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 2—Nabeel's dilemma with his new pants is a familiar sort of predicament borne by simple, good-hearted folks in many strains of folklore. He's a shoemaker whose business has gone well on the eve of Eid, the holiday culminating Ramadan. Purchasing gifts for his family, he also buys new pants to replace his patched trousers. However, they are "four fingers too long." Though his wife, mother, and grown daughter are appreciative of the finery he has bought for them, all are too busy with holiday preparations to shorten the pants. Roy's cheerful folk views, the figures drawn in ink and painted in warm tones of gold, brown, green, and blue, pair beautifully with the economical, repetitive scheme, which soon becomes predictable. Nabeel shortens the pants himself, only to be followed by the three women, each of whom cuts off four inches and hems them again in gratitude for his goodness. The author and illustrator are both from India; the tale is ostensibly Turkish and is sprinkled with Arabic terms, listed in an opening glossary. A fine choice for read-aloud fun, the story is a simple introduction to Muslim culture that will evoke empathetic chuckles when the mishap is discovered as Nabeel dons his knee-length pants on the morning of Eid. The damage is soon repaired in a tale that will pair nicely with Simms Taback's Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
(Viking, 1999) and countless other tales of shoemakers and tailors or domestic errors.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Family life is the heart of this upbeat picture book about the Muslim celebration of Eid, which takes place after the fast of Ramadan. Turkish shoemaker Nabeel buys Eid gifts for his family, including a burqa (a garment with a veil) for his wife, a dupalla (long scarf) for his mother, and bangles for his daughter. The shopkeeper also persuades Nabeel to buy himself new pants, but the pants are too long. His wife, mother, and daughter are all too busy cooking for Eid to shorten his pants, so he cuts a few inches off them himself. Later, the women in the house feel guilty, and each secretly trims the pants more, not realizing the trousers’ increasingly shortened length. When Nabeel finally puts them on, they only reach his knees. Roy’s cheerful gouache, watercolor, and ink illustrations show the bonds among family members as they follow their traditions together. Kids will laugh right along with the loving characters, who sew the missing pants pieces back together to give Nabeel perfectly fitting trousers in the end. Preschool-Grade 3. --Hazel Rochman