'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 23 September 2022

Review: The Very Best Doughnut

I feel like I need to write the Very Best Review of The Very Best Doughnut. because this book - part of Pan Macmillan’s Our Stories series celebrating multiculturalism - is quite delicious in all the Very Best of Ways.

Fridays are doughnut days in Adam’s family, so he takes an iced doughnut to school for morning tea. Except when it’s Ramadan. Because then, the older members of his family do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.

So today is Friday and Adam has a problem. He is determined to be like the rest of his family and fast from sunup to sundown, even though his mother thinks he’s too young and should wait a couple of years. But the real issue is, can Adam actually wait ALL DAY for his very special doughnut?

Young readers will truly love this book. It is funny, bold, messy and contains a lot of very interesting information about self-discipline and Ramadan (also, a couple of equally-important references to bums and farting). We learn that Muslims fast to know what it’s like to not have enough to eat, and that Ramadan is a time for doing nice things for other people – like giving away your Pokemon cards.

Adam is a normal, likeable kid, with a big sister who’s sometimes mean and sometimes nice. I love that he and his best mate both sit with their bums in the bathroom sinks at recess (on hot days). And, that we are introduced to many excellent words, such as konofa (which is my second-favourite after doughnut). I also really wanted to high-five Adam that time when he resisted the urge to secretly take a lick of his sandwich as he walked past it.

The illustrations with their delightful and blobby, fountain-pen type feel, are perfect. They show Adam’s family and friends, his doughnuts and his daydreams. These double-page illustration spreads that break up the large and sometimes crazy words and writing, are very engaging on the page.

Written for children 5 years and up, this early chapter book introduces enduring themes such as strength and self-determination. This book and indeed this series, is a gift for children from all cultures. Who doesn’t love to see themselves represented in print. NO-ONE! Except perhaps for those who can resist the lure of an iced doughnut.

So. Does Adam manage to not eat his doughnut until sundown? Well, that would be telling.

Highly recommended.

Title: The Very Best Doughnut
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Illustrator: Amani Haydar
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, $12.99
Publication Date: 26 July 2022
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760988906
For ages: 5+
Type: Junior Fiction