Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

The beauty of the artwork in this book reflects the tradition in Islamic art of evoking the sacred through pattern and shape. Each page turn leads us to a world of discovery. There is a mixture of painted and digital elements that merge wonderfully. At the end of the book we are told that each spread depicts a different country from around the world with a corresponding rich variety of art, architecture and culture.

Children will be taught about mathematical shapes and shown how these are transformed into beautiful buildings and interior designs. They will also learn lots of new words that Khan explains clearly in the glossary in the final spread. Amini’s artwork is breath-taking. On the cover, jewelled colours, contrasted against a dark sky, are stunning. The font reminds us of the rich tradition of Islamic calligraphy. The bright red, orange and yellow sunrise endpapers at the front of the book contrast with the calm blues, greens and indigo of night at the back. In between, we see a day unfolding, showing us the different clothes, hairstyles, head coverings, meals, home interiors, religious education and cultural traditions of the various Muslim countries.

Throughout there is a sense of order and tranquillity. The children and adults depicted are shown as happy, calm people. This book is really a feast for the eyes. The luscious art and the gentle rhyming text evoke a beautiful, contemplative feeling, along with a celebratory sense of the beauty of creation and life.