In three teaching tales originally written in Turkish, a golden bird affords each of a trio of modern Muslim children dream glimpses of a different “Prophet.” Answering young Shakir’s prayer to see Muhammad, the bird carries him to the radiant house of Muhammad’s birth, to the hills where “Halima suckled and cared for him,” over the Ka’ba and on to Medina. There, the Prophet, his face “bright like the moon” (but not directly seen in the naïve-style cartoon illustration), is “helping his friends build Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the Prophet’s Mosque.” The dream ends atop the “Mountain of Light,” where the Qur’an was revealed. Subsequently, Marwa is vouchsafed views of Isa (the baby Jesus), who proclaims, “Without a doubt, I am a servant of Allah. Allah gave me a book and made me a Prophet. He ordered me to be kind to my mother.” Marwa and readers then see him grow up to feed the hungry (with loaves and what looks like squab rather than fishes) and heal a blind man. In the final story, Umar sees Musa (Moses) abandoned on the Nile, rescued, “chosen as a Prophet,” given the “Holy Book Tawrat (Torah)” ato p an unnamed mountain and parting the sea, “by the permission of Allah.” The narratives are bland, the figures and locales in the art generic—but Muslim and non-Muslim children alike may find the perspective illuminating. (Kirkus Reviews, March 15th, 2013
Three Muslim children are each visited by a “Dream Bird” while they are sleeping. The children, all desiring to learn more about their religion, are taken on a journey on the back of the large, friendly bird; all three travel back in time to important events in the history of Islam and, for some stories, Christianity (such as the parting of the Red Sea). The famous Qur’anic story of the baby Jesus speaking as an infant from the arms of his mother, Maryam (Mary to Christians), is related as part of the dream journey of a girl named Marwa, who wishes her baby brother could also talk. Shakir visits various events in the life of Muhammad, the Islamic prophet, including his birth. The symbolism of the nocturnal travel by magical animal is a lovely homage to the Qur’anic night journey of Muhammad. Originally published in Turkey, the story will translate well for young American Muslim readers. Non- Muslim children, though not the target audience, may also enjoy the book, with its dreamy tone and detailed drawings frequently featuring big, textured skies. (Publishers Weekly, 03/18/2013
About the Author
Lale Suphandagi is an education specialist and a writer for children books. She lives in Istanbul, Turkey.