Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sugar Comes from Arabic: A Beginner's Guide to Arabic Letters and Words (English and Arabic Edition) Spiral-bound – July 30, 2009 by Barbara Whitesides ( Interlink Pub Group) (Interlink Books)(IBRCookBooks)

This is a simple and fun book that introduces the user to the Arabic letters. Very imaginative. I would have liked even more practice pages, but I know they would add to the book's cost. I highly recommend this guide to anyone who would like to familiarize herself with the alphabet (alifbaa) and learn to read and write a few words, perhaps including her first name. Interesting tidbits about Arabic culture are sprinkled throughout, like sugar. Perhaps some readers will progress to a serious study of the language

This innovative guide has a twofold purpose: to teach the Arabic alphabet and to provide a window into Arabic culture. The study of a language with an unfamiliar alphabet is daunting, and Arabic is particularly so, since the letters join in artistic combinations that are often referred to (even here) as "squiggles." The methods used in this attractive book to simplify learning the letters include putting the Arabic letters in the order of the English alphabet and matching the two, and teaching the actual writing with step-by-step drawings that fade at the end of a letter so that readers can tell when the following letter begins. Color is used effectively with bold red and black letters from both alphabets. Each English letter gets two or more pages with its Arabic equivalent, a writing lesson, and a nugget of historical or geographical information, often accompanied by relevant full-color pictures. The letter "B," for example, introduces Beruit, Bedouin, and borax. Vocabulary is included in amusing ways: "Our English word mummy comes from the Arabic moomya, which in turn came from the Persian word mum for the wax used in embalming." This book will easily attract children with its satiny pages, large clear block print, bright colors, and enticement to draw. However, the more difficult concepts of Arabic, such as vowels that are pronounced but not written, are presented nonchalantly and the idea of easily "writing your name in Arabic letters" is actually confusing. Ultimately, though, these are scant criticisms: this is a charming, accessible book for all ages. It's informative, fun, and useful.

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