Cover image for Thank you, Omu! / Oge Mora.
Title:
Thank you, Omu! / Oge Mora.
Author:
ISBN:
9780316431248
Publication Information:
New York ; Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 29 cm
Abstract:
When the aroma of Omu's homemade stew fills the air, her neighbors arrive, one by one, for a taste until all is gone except for her generous spirit.
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Summary

Summary

A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book
Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award

In this remarkable author-illustrator debut that's perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Extra Yarn , a generous woman is rewarded by her community.

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?

Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love. An author's note explains that "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) means "queen" in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean "Grandma." This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora's life.


Author Notes

Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. When not painting in her studio, Oge is in the kitchen cooking her late grandmother's recipes. Her first picture book, Thank You, Omu! , was a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice, and a Junior Library Guild selection. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and invites you to visit her website at www.ogemora.com.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Omu (pronounced AH-moo, it's Igbo for queen), the matriarch of her city neighborhood, is making "thick red stew in a big fat pot." As the delicious scent-rendered as an undulating strip of paper-wafts through the neighborhood, a little boy drops by, then "Ms. Police Officer," and then a deluge of hungry humans that eventually includes the mayor. Mora, a major new talent making her debut as an author-illustrator, gives her book a rhythmic, refrainlike structure: There's a "KNOCK!" at the door, a moment of thought on Omu's part, the presentation of a bowl, and a hearty "Thank you, Omu!" in brightly colored capital letters. Dinnertime arrives, and a chagrined Omu discovers that she's given all her stew away ("There goes the best dinner I ever had!"). But she isn't sad for long. The stew eaters arrive en masse at her door with a bountiful potluck (the boy proffers a handmade thank-you note), and "together they ate, danced, and celebrated." This sweet story of inclusivity, gratitude, and delicious fellowship is also a feast for the eyes, with its warm colors and inventive mAclange of cut paper and other materials. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Grandmotherly Omu (a brief note on the front endpapers explains that the name is pronounced AH-moo and is the Igbo term for queen) seasons and stirs her thick red stew in a big fat pot. In the mixed-media collage illustrations, brown-skinned Omu looks blissful as a wavy ribbon of scrumptious scent from her stew wafts out the window and out the door, down the hall, toward the street, and around the block. Soon there is a knock on the door, and a little boy asks about the delicious smell. Omu decides to share her stew with him as the scent continues to float out from her apartment, bringing another knock knock to her doora peckish police officer, this time. The pattern of the story quickly becomes clear, as each knock brings someone who very much appreciates Omu sharing her stew: Thank you, Omu! At the end of the day, Omus generosity means that she has no stew left to eat for dinner, but the people come back, and the little boy tells her, Dont worry, Omu. We are not here to askWe are here to give. The layers of paint, paper scraps, old book clippings, and more give the collages depth and make each person distinct in his or her skin tone, hair, and clothes. Mora times her story perfectly, with each beat in the right place and repetition that will encourage participation from a group. This will be an ideal volume to use any time sharing is the theme. susan dove lempke (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


New York Review of Books Review

MY NANA NEVER explained to us why she'd chosen to go by a more culturally neutral shorthand for "grandmother" instead of the customary - and irresistible - Greek word "Yiayia." She was a proud Greek- American who worked as a receptionist until she was 84, listened to Nana Mouskouri records on the hi-fiin her living room, and rolled dolmades so perfectly uniform they belonged in an encyclopedia of domestic miracles. "Chryso mou," she used to say out loud when she took my sister's face in her hands, then my older brother's, and then mine; we were all her "golden one" ("dear one" is the less literal translation), but the fierceness and unselfishness of my Nana's love made each of us feel as if we'd been singled out. THE BROOKLYN-BASED illustrator and graphic designer Cecilia Ruiz captures the particular tenderness of grandmothers in A GIFT FROM ABUELA (Candlewick, 29 pp., $15.99; ages 4 to 8), her first book written expressly for young children. Ruiz's "The Book of Memory Gaps" (2015) and "The Book of Extraordinary Deaths" (2018) are dazzlingly Goreyesque in their cataloging of suggestive memory disorders and evocative deaths from the seventh century B.C. to the present. "A GiftFrom Abuela," with its block-printed illustrations in muted colors, is more modest in its storytelling and heartwarming in its message, though Ruiz still manages to capture complex social realities (the economic crisis in Mexico in the early 1990s, the alienation of older adults). The story itself is simple: Abuela saves her hard-earned pesos to buy a special present for her beloved granddaughter Niña, though when the government devalues the peso and she fails to exchange it, the money becomes worthless. To liftAbuela's spirits, Niña's solution is to cut the old bills into pieces for elaborate papel picado banners and use them to decorate the drab apartment, allowing Ruiz to create an art-project-within-a-picture-book story that had my own 2-year-old transfixed. An abuela's love is valued and returned in new and innovative forms. At the book's end, Niña and Abuela are spending a Sunday in the park, having pan dulce and watching the people go by: "It was still their favorite thing to do," Ruiz writes. THE GRANDMOTHER FIGURE in Oge Mora's debut as an author-illustrator, THANK YOU, OMU! (Little, Brown, 31 pp., $18.99; ages 4 to 8), is a life-giving force with a nearly bottomless stew pot. The story opens in a kitchen at "the corner of First Street and Long Street, on the very top floor" (the city is unnamed), where Omu, dressed in a yellow drape and gold drop earrings, is tasting the delicious stew that she plans on eating that night. Mora's illustrations use collage to give the book's world a sense of depth and vibrancy - the stew in the pot is represented by an ever-changing calico design - and the stream of cooking odors trailing out the apartment window gives the first hint of the book's folkloric plot. An author's note informs us that in the Nigerian language Igbo, "omu" means "queen," and that in Mora's family, the word also meant "Grandma." As Omu's cooking pot simmers on the stove, the delicious smell travels, and soon a succession of people are knocking at the door to get a taste: a boy from down the hall; a female police officer; a hot dog vendor; a cabdriver. Omu, thanks to the deliciousness of her stew, becomes a grandmother to the whole community. When her pot finally runs empty and it looks as if Omu won't have anything to eat that night, the community returns the love by feeding Omu with an impromptu potluck dinner. Mora is especially deftat using pastels and china markers to give the faces of her cutout figures roundness and expression; similarly, the street scenes are filled with cutouts (a lurching taxi, a flying bus, an energeticlooking soccer player) that will have toddlers reaching out to grab them. THE WRITER BETTY QUAN and the artist Carmen Mok strike a more somber note in GRANDMOTHER'S VISIT (Groundwood, 29 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), their collaboration about the persistence of grandmothers - and the sense of absence that follows their loss. Told in the first-person, the book follows an unnamed girl through her days with her Chinese-born grandmother (it's never stated outright, but the girl's grandmother is her primary caregiver while her parents are offat work), learning how to get the proportions right when cooking a pot of rice, or listening to her stories about eating red lotus beans on holidays back in her village. Suddenly the girl's grandmother is no longer at her side after school, and the door to her bedroom is always closed. Her death is handled suggestively, and the book's color palette darkens as the story takes a beguiling turn in its last pages and veers into the territory of a traditional Chinese ghost story. Small children shouldn't be frightened, though - the spirit of this grandmother is much too loving and protective for that. LEST WE FORGET about grandfathers and their unearthly powers, the beloved children's author Tomie dePaola, best known for the classic witchy grandmother story "Strega Nona" (1975), has created the beautifully spare picture book QUIET (Simon & Schuster, 28 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8). This meditation on seeing and stillness teaches mindfulness to children - and the adults who read to them - in a nonpreachy way. Everything about the book is pared-down essentials, from the one-word title to the sparing use of text to the colorfully elemental illustrations. The book opens with a grandfather, looking very much the artist in a banded hat and long scarf, standing in a green field with his two grandchildren and a dog, watching the bees swarm a patch of flowers. A praying mantis climbs a lily stalk, and a mother fox lies curled with her young in a hidden den. "My, oh my," the grandfather says. "Everything is in such a hurry." The family moves through the landscape in the pages that follow, finally sitting down on a bench in order to notice, see deeper and describe. "The birds are just like us," the grandfather says at one point. "Taking a rest, singing their song." In its slowness and its serenity, "Quiet" is a prime example of the "late style" in dePaola's trajectory (think Shakespeare's "The Tempest" or Verdi's "Falstaff") and a corrective to the distraction that threatens to engulf us all. Leave it to a grandparent with an uncanny giftof sight to remind us how to stop, look and really see. But quietly.