My Father’s Shop
Ages 4 to 8
Kane/Miller, 2006, 1-929132-99-9
Mustafa’s father owns a carpet shop and everyday he works hard talking to tourists and trying to convince them to buy his beautiful and inexpensive carpets. It is important that Mustafa’s father should be able to speak to the tourists in their own language as much as possible so he knows a little English, French, Spanish, and Japanese. One day Mustafa discovers that one of his father’s carpets has a hole in it. Mustafa’s father agrees to give Mustafa the carpet so long as Mustafa makes the effort to learn some foreign words and phrases so that he can help his father in the shop. Mustafa agrees to this but he soon tires of learning words and as soon as he can he runs out into the street to show his friends his carpet.
It is only when he encounters some tourists, and a very vocal rooster, that Mustafa realizes how interesting and important it is to learn some foreign languages. After all, how else would he know how to say the sound of a cock’s crow in four languages!
Children will be fascinated to see how different Mustafa’s Moroccan life is to their own and they will also find themselves wondering what it would be like to live in a place where one would get to meet people from all over the world on a daily basis. Children might even be tempted to learn a few foreign words for themselves. After all, one never knows when you might need to say hello to someone from Japan, Germany, or France.
Satomi Ichikawa has created beautifully vibrant paintings for this very special picture book; a book which embraces different cultures and peoples and which encourages children to see that the world is not such a big place after all.
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