Noura loves to eat watermelon all day, every day, but one night she discovers that there is such a thing as too much watermelon.
When Noura, a young Arab girl, sits down for lunch with her parents, Mama puts a plate of molokhiya with chicken and rice in front of her, but she turns up her nose. “I don’t like molokhiya. I don’t like chicken. I only want watermelon,” she says. When Baba insists, Noura shouts for watermelon. This scene is left hanging, but that evening Noura sneaks into the kitchen and finds a big watermelon. Wanting it all for herself, she hides it under her bed and falls asleep thinking of it. Noura dreams that the watermelon grows to be enormous, and she goes inside it and eats watermelon until her tummy hurts. When she screams in pain in her dream, her mother wakes her, and she feels ashamed for hiding the watermelon for herself. The next morning, Noura eats all of her breakfast—egg, zaatar with olive oil, and milk—without complaint. The wildly expressive illustrations, drawn with pencil and painted with strokes of color, highlight the gaping abyss of Noura’s mouth as she devours, shouts, and cries. A cautionary tale with a swift conclusion, this is an uncommon type of picture book in the mainstream American market.
A fun read for those who enjoy dramatic, spirited children and a welcome presence of Arab culture on the page. (Picture book. 3-8)