Saturday, October 22, 2011

RTL: Forest

  السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Book Title: Forest
Author: Laura Goodwin
Islamically Appropriate?: PD (Parent Decision)
Genre: Fiction
Book Format: Beginning Chapter Book
Age Group: 4-8
Book Review: This is a beginning chapter book for students who are becoming or already are independent readers. The text level supports independent reading at this age and provides enough new, slightly challenging words so that the reader does not become bored and can also feel a sense of advancing in their ability as a reader. 

In this story, a little girl and her mother find a baby fawn in the forest near their farm. They hear the baby fawn call for its mother throughout the day. When nightfall comes and the mother deer has not returned for her fawn, the family decides to go back to the forest to care for the baby fawn overnight so it will no die. The little girl wants to keep the baby fawn as a pet but the father tells the girl that a wild animal is not theirs to keep and that tomorrow they will call a facility that cares for wild animals.

In a few places in the text the sound the animals makes as it calls for its mother is written in as part of the story. As Ibn Taymiyyah said it is not that humans should imitate the sound of animals (still unable to find that reference in English unfortunately), perhaps children can be asked not to read those lines of text or if you own the book, you can use a marker to colour over the words. 

The last chapter is the reason this book has been given the rating of PD (parent decision). The little girl asks if she can stay up to help feed the fawn throughout the night with her parents and they tell her no (the parents intend to take turns getting up throughout the night to bottle feed the fawn). They tell her to go to bed, which she does, but the reader soon learns that the little girl intentionally lays awake in bed waiting until her parents go to sleep and then she sneaks back downstairs to talk with the fawn and ends up falling asleep next to it.

Might this aide in teaching children to disobey their parents when Allaah has said that we are to be good and dutiful to our parents?

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حُسْنًا
And We have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents...
{Surah Al-Ankaboot (29): 8}

 Until the next read insha'Allaah....


  1. Assalaamu Alaikum dear sis

    Jazzakillaah Khayr for all your efforts. Just a naseehah if you can give us. We encounter many issues like this in reading. My experience so far is that when we do encounter issues like this I explain to Maimoonah the Islaamic point of view and tell her that even though the author has written like this we as Muslims always follow the Law of Allaah and what the girl did was wrong and etc etc.. And she really does understand this and when she reads she would say the same thing, it is wrong to do such a thing. For example when she sees birthdays mentioned in books she says it is wrong and we celebrate only eid and reads without "birth" saying happy day mom"!!! So I am wondering if this is good or should we permanently not show them these text that go against the Islamic Principles?

  2. Waalaikum assalam wa rahmatullaah

    ya ukhti this is a very good question. Insha'Allaah, I will endeavor to ask someone of knowledge what should be done in these cases. As I am not someone of knowledge this is the reason I put this as a parent decision. Insha'Allaah, if I am able to obtain an answer, I hope to post it so that we may all benefit from it.

    Barak Allaahu feki

  3. Umm Maimoona,
    I do the same with my daughter as there are fewer books for Muslim kids ( she has books that teach her faith in my language), English Islamic books are rare. The need for her to learn three languages means she has to read good English books along with Quranic Arabic and our language.
    I get her all kinds of books.