Thursday, October 2, 2014

Picture Book Review - Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan

I bring books home from the library pretty much every day, and it's become part of our nightly ritual for Sprout to dig into my work bag looking for new stuff to read. A few weeks back he was doing just that and came across tonight's pick, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan. Well, it's not at all an exaggeration to say that he was completely mesmerized. He immediately wanted to stop and read the book -- like, right away, even though I was in the middle of dinner and all the weeknight craziness. And, with a cover like this, who could blame him? I did the same thing when it showed up on my hold shelf!

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns follows one small girl as she identifies color in the world around her. It's a lovely way to honor Islamic culture and introduce it to readers who may not already be familiar with some of the various aspects and symbols. The colors become focal points for the girl to talk about the things she sees and how they relate to traditions and people she loves. So blue is her mother's hijab; brown are the dates she eats for Ramadan; red is her father's prayer rug. A final spread pulls all the colors together, and provides a glossary for all the terms used in the text - a thoughtful addition.

I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the illustrations here, because as terrific as Hena Khan's text is, the illustrations are even more spectacular. I've seen plenty of informative books ruined by flat, lifeless images. Such is not the case here - Mehrdokht Amini pulls out all the stops for pictures that are not only vibrant and enticing, but also full of texture and shade. Some of the images seem to come right off the page at the reader, so you can practically feel the embossing on the Quran or the engraving on the dome of the mosque. It is so lovely, really -- I can't in any way do it justice, you just need to get your hands on a copy pronto. Trust me.

If you're looking to add a little depth to your story time, check out Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. You'll not only get a glorious visual experience, you'll also get a concept book that goes far beyond the norm - one no reader is likely to forget!

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan, published by Chronicle Books
Ages 2-5
Source: Library
First line: "Red is the rug Dad kneels on to pray, facing toward Mecca, five times a day."
Highly recommended

1 comment:

Janna said...

This looks like a lovely book. I'm also glad to see more Muslim/Arabic children's books lately.