By D.L. Green
From the back cover
Zeke can’t wait for his cousin Sam to arrive for a visit. But once Sam arrives, Zeke quickly tires of his guest’s constant bragging and sucking up. Is Sam really perfect or is he just a big phony?
In a gist…
Zeke becomes very excited when he learns that his cousin and his family will be staying over for a few days. His excitement fades away when he experiences multiple put-downs from his relatives. I feel this book was great in the way it showed how family members should tolerate each other and how to deal with their differences. I was pleasantly surprised by Zeke’s respect towards his elders and his guest. I also liked how he was able to talk through what was bothering him with his cousin and worked on their differences. My concern with this book that Zeke, like many lead characters in children’s books, has no interest in school or homework and brags about finding ways to “trick” people into doing his work.
Chapter 1: Zeke’s older sister makes a quick reference to Islamically inappropriate shows by saying “I’ll keep watching my favourite TV shows: Teens in Love and Bathing Suit Guys”.
Chapter 4: Zeke’s uncle cooks Tofu dinner and Zeke cals it “totally gross” gunk. I don’t know about other families out there but in our family we are not allowed to refer to food as anything negative. We teach our children that food is a blessing from Allah and we should never refer to it badly. I usually go on to say that there are millions of children in the world who would wish for a bite of what they have on their plates and that’s why we should always be thankful to Allah for blessing us with all kinds of food.
Degradation of Family/ Islamic Values
– Some minor sibling rivalry.
– The Meeks’ guests are very unpleasant but the family treats them respectfully.
Zeke is the main character who is uninterested in school. I feel it is worth noting that many of the books spreading these days targeting young audiences are led by main characters who lack motivation towards school and are always forced into it. I can’t help but wonder what kind of influence such reads have on our children and their effect on their passion towards learning. Zeke and his family’s manners towards their guests were plausible, however, and the fact that Zeke found a way to get along with his cousin was quite impressive