By Taghreed Najjar. Hassan Manasra, Il.
2020, Crocodile Books, 978-1-62371-925-8, $17.95 hb.
Reviewed by Robert W. Lebling on April 22, 2021
Aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, this inspiring story is big in format and packed with illustrations. It tells the story of a boy named Hasan who begins to question the fears of ghouls he learns from the old folk tales in his village. He decides to set out to meet one of the creatures that all the villagers believe lie in wait for unsuspecting humans in order to capture and devour them. Despite moments of apprehension, Hasan discovers that the Ghoul he meets is as frightened of the villagers as they are of him. That reality forms the beginning of a friendship that surprises everyone and changes the village. This makes the story a valuable primer on how to accept and empathize with those who seem different, and to challenge rumors and prejudices while seeking out an experiential truth.