It is based on an Arabic folklore. The story is retold by Margaret Read MacDonald and Nadia Jameel Taibah. Sister Nadia is from Saudi Arabia and is with the Special Education Department of King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah.
The story is of a merchant and his son riding their 10 donkeys to market. On the way they keep losing one donkey and then somehow finding it again. In this journey the Arabic counting of 1-10 is repeated. Trust me it is repeated.
This book has the actual Arabic numbers and the corresponding Arabic names for the numbers. And the characters count in Arabic. There is an accompanying pronunciation audio on Margaret Read MacDonald’s website. Clearly this book is written for a general readership and not for an Islamic audience. The purpose is of course to introduce Arab culture and not Islam necessarily.
Every time the merchant loses a donkey I said “Innalillah” and every time he finds the donkey I said “Alhamdulillah” as oppose to what was written in the story.
Overall this book did a good job on introducing counting 1-10 in Arabic. It also had kids friendly illustration of the dessert landscape. Worth looking at.
This story will also be a good opportunity to introduce duas pertaining to journey.