BILAL COOKS DAAL by Aisha Saeed
Kirkus Star

BILAL COOKS DAAL

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Novelist Saeed makes her picture-book debut with this delicious tale about a boy and his beloved daal.

When Bilal’s father begins to make the South Asian legume stew, Bilal and his friends Morgan and Elias are eager to help, but Abu tells them, “This dish takes patience.…This dish takes time.” The children choose to make chana daal (with split chickpeas) and line up the spices: turmeric, chili, cumin. But when Morgan and Elias wonder aloud why the daal “looks” and “smells” funny, Bilal becomes concerned that his friends won’t like his favorite food at all. The daal simmers all day—as Bilal, Morgan, and Elias play hopscotch, swim, and hike and other friends join them—and once the sun begins to set, Bilal’s father calls them all home. They break naan around the table and share the steamy, soupy, garlicky, salty, sweet, creamy daal. “Bilal, you were right—daal tastes great!” they say. The tale centers on a situation familiar to many children of immigrants—the othering of the foods of their homes—and validates young readers’ cultural experiences. Saeed’s inclusion of a South Asian father engaged in domestic work is radical and welcome, and Syed’s inviting, bold, cartoonlike illustrations depict brown-skinned Bilal surrounded by children of a variety of skin tones (Morgan presents white and Elias presents black).

A quietly radical, eminently delightful book. (author’s note, recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 4th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5344-1810-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019




MORE BY AISHA SAEED

ChildrenALADDIN by Aisha Saeed
by Aisha Saeed
ChildrenAMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saeed
by Aisha Saeed
ChildrenWRITTEN IN THE STARS by Aisha Saeed
by Aisha Saeed

MORE BY ANOOSHA SYED

ChildrenPIPER COOKS UP A PLAN by Erin Soderberg
by Erin Soderberg
ChildrenKID SCIENTISTS by David Stabler
by David Stabler
ChildrenMILLA TAKES CHARGE by Erin Soderberg
by Erin Soderberg

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenBRINGING ASHA HOME by Uma Krishnaswami
by Uma Krishnaswami
ChildrenMAMA'S SARIS by Pooja Makhijani
by Pooja Makhijani
ChildrenTAN TO TAMARIND by Malathi Michelle Iyengar
by Malathi Michelle Iyengar