Book Review: A Whale of a Wish

I remember hearing The story of Prophet Yunus (pbuh) or Jonah as he is known in the bible, for the first time as a child and how awestruck I was at the idea that a man survived after being swallowed whole by a whale.

My dad always told us this story to demonstrate that with patience and faith, God can deliver us from the most difficult and darkest of situations. It’s only now as an adult I understand the absolute profound message of this story and the intensity of the prayer made by Yunus (pbuh) to God while in the belly of the whale. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised when I heard of a new children’s book telling this very well loved story from the point of view of the whale!

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A Whale of a Wish by Razana Noor is a sweet little book aimed for younger readers (3-6 years).

It is written in rhyme with repetitive phrases through out the book. The story is predominantly about a Whale who wants to do good by helping others and in turn wishes to please God. So he sets off on an adventure and meets Yunus(pbuh).

The water colour illustrations by Rahima Begum is just superb ( I may be a bit biased here as I love her art). I think young readers will enjoy this picture book. It definitely got thumbs up from my boys (4 and 6 years old). They enjoyed the colourful illustrations of the underwater creatures. Their favourite part ( or ‘bestest page’) in the book has to be the whale throwing up Prophet Yunus onto the shore :D

Another key feature that stood out for me in this book is how the author and illustrator chose to represent the Prophet Yunus (Pbuh). Islamically Muslims are not allowed to draw images of the prophets. In this book, the prophet is represented as a shining light, which I think works really well and prompts some great questions from the children.

The story definitely lends itself as a good starting point for discussing issues such as being kind, helpful,having faith and believing you can do good for others.

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 And of course it goes without saying that this story very fittingly encouraged my boys to learn the exact prayer the Prophet Yunus (Pbuh) said while in the belly of the whale and my suggestion to the author would be to include it at the end of the story, maybe in a revised version of the story.

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