Review of Thank You, Omu!

Thank You, Omu!
by Oge Mora; illus. by the author
Primary    Little, Brown    32 pp.
10/18    978-0-316-43124-8    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-316-43123-1    $9.99

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 door—a 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, Omu’s generosity means that she has no stew left to eat for dinner, but the people come back, and the little boy tells her, “Don’t worry, Omu. We are not here to ask…We 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.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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