You might remember when I reviewed Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah and how impressed I was with their debut book. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review their second book, Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival, I think I’m a fan for life. They’ve done it again, with crisp, interesting images, a fun story line, and tidbits of knowledge sprinkled throughout in unexpected places, and this time centering Eid for kids.
The Ilyas and Duck books aren’t just two books with the same main characters. There are definitely themes in both books in regards to the style and flow through the story, keeping it engaging and amusing. My favorite, especially during this American holiday season? Duck mistakenly brings Christmas and Hanukkah presents to decorate for Eid, but his best friend Ilyas corrects him, simply saying, “That’s for our Christian/Jewish friends.” With Aamina coming up to 4 years old, she’s more observant than ever, and there’s no way to avoid all the Christmas decorations surrounding us. Alhamdulilah, it’s a real treat to have a book that addresses it so beautifully for young readers.
I wondered if this book would sit on our shelf, unused for most of the year and just dust it off for Ramadan and Eid, but with simple explanations for kids who see these celebrations happening around them, I know this book won’t be collecting dust.
Eid for kids
I also appreciate that Ilyas and Duck focus on Eid as its own celebration rather than a break from a month of fasting. We want kids to appreciate Ramadan, and to enjoy Eid in its own right, rather than a celebration from a dreaded experience, in sha Allah. The celebration is about family and friends, which Ilyas and Duck learn at the masjid – the perfect place for little Muslims! Now, I only wish I could take a hot air balloon there. That would solve the Eid salat parking dilemma!
Beyond just celebrating, Ilyas and Duck make sure to join in Eid salat (perfect time to talk about proper manners while the adults are praying!), and give their zakat. Again, great starting points to talk about the pillars of Islam, and the importance of them to join us in our local and worldwide community.
And what’s more? Ilyas and Duck give in charity with their hands, mashaAllah.
Every book I have read before Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival has been a non-fiction book, missing a story to keep little readers engaged, and thus missing the message of Ramadan and Eid. While the previous books have gotten the job done to introduce Eid to kids, Ilyas and Duck presents Eid in a story young Muslims want to read again and again. What better way to get our kids excited for Eid, even when they are surrounded by the lights and hustle of the Christmas season?