Jamal’s Bad-Time Tale, written and illustrated by Absar Kazmi, is a cute early chapter book in the vein of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
Jamal’s day gets off to a bad start, and it just keeps getting worse. He wakes up in a fright when the cat jumps on him and spills cereal on himself at breakfast—and that’s only the beginning. How much worse can Jamal’s day get before it gets better?
Here are some really cute things that I liked about this book:
- Jamal is kind, enthusiastic, and persevering.
- The cat is sort of a main character.
- The dad has a fun relationship with samosas.
At the end of Jamal’s bad day, a talk with his mom and dad helps him to understand that “the bad times are Allah’s way of helping us to remember Him and to thank Him for the good times.” This message is a little simplistic, and Jamal seems to be convinced by it a little too easily for me. But there is a nice little twist when his friend comes to visit and is super impressed by his two black eyes, showing that “good” and “bad” is a matter of perception.
This is a story that kids can easily relate to and will find a lot of fun. I kept waiting for my kids to comment on the illustrations (which are stick figures!), but they didn’t. They were busy guessing what bad thing would happen to Jamal next.
Jamal’s Bad-Time Tale is published by IIPH (2016) and you can get a copy here.
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.