As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
Thank you, Omu, is a story about a single, grandmotherly lady with a giving heart, though I’m afraid this book might teach my child that it is acceptable for random strangers (after all, Omu refers to her visitors as Ms. Police Officer, Mr. Hot Dog Vendor, etc.) to just show up at one’s door, unannounced and asking for free food. Lucky for Omu that in a Capra-esque way, they return her generosity tenfold.
However, the story would’ve been more believable had it centered on Omu’s apartment neighbors rather than nameless strangers.
The illustrations aren’t that great, yet I liked them. The inside of the book is printed with a birds-eye view of the city; the collaging medium using newspapers (in part) fit the big city vibe, though some of the cutouts (like the faceless people in the bus) seemed thrown in to fill space. Some finer detail work would’ve added depth and interest–like a title on the book Omu was reading. The colors are muted and the paper almost has a recycled feel, the look making me think of brown paper bags–as humble and heartwarming as Omu’s stew.
I didn’t like the font changing back and forth; font should always be kept plain when it’s part of the text. (However, when it’s part of the art, anything goes.) Furthermore, I didn’t care for the giant “Knock” words as they came across as loud banging rather than polite knocking.
I’m glad the author included a policewoman but not a woman construction worker in the attempt to be politically correct at the expense of believability.
What I got from this story is that food, made with love–including self-love–brings people together. It was almost a Biblical allegory in that there was no way Omu made that much stew for herself yet had enough to feed everyone who came.
This was a nice effort, and one I will read to my daughter again. Also check out the author’s website–very sleek and comprehensive.
The little thank you card at the end was perfect–it brought me back to the days when my parents and I would invite the Mormon missionaries over for dinner, and they’d always leave one as a surprise.
Don’t let thank you cards become a thing of the past.
My note to the author: “A thick red stew” was repeated so much, I wish the recipe had been included. Little extras like that are like a lagniappe, and such would be a great addition to your site.
Suggested activity: Go over the list of vocations mentioned in the book. Ask what a cop does, a baker, a mayor, etc. Convey to your child that by working, we make the world work. As a child, I loved dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up, which was everything from a “beauty shopper” (i.e. beautician) to a chocolate cake baker. Let your child dream and imagine, showing them that working with your hands as well as your mind can help solve at least one of the world’s problems somewhere, and that a trade school certification is just as honorable as a college degree.