Book Review: Thank You, Omu!
by Oge Mora, Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Publication Date: Oct 02, 2018
List Price: $18.99
Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
Target Age Group: Picture Book
Imprint: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Parent Company: Hachette Livre
Borrow from Library
Book Reviewed by Neoma Nwasike
How important is community to you? Is it at the epicenter of your heart, and do the people who make up your unique and wonderful community, allow you to thrive and flourish? A community should feel like a bundle of love, friendships and kindness, and in the Caldecott Honor Children’s Book Thank you Omu! Omu’s community is just that! Omu is an older woman who loves her community and grows from the special connection she shares with each neighbor.
Omu has a true and special gift, she cooks food that stops people in their tracks and with just one whiff, her neighbors are lined up at her doorstep hoping for a taste. You could say that Omu (pronounced AH-moo) is a fairy god mother to the community! She is someone, who grants food wishes, while also garnishing respect and admiration from her beloved community. Omu’s name is Igbo and it means queen, and after reading this book you too will see why this name fits her perfectly, she is a queen with a big heart and a big amount of food, filled with love, and ready to share.
The old adage that says food has a way of bringing people together rings especially true in this book, and author Oge Mora depicts this perfectly through her words and the beautiful pictures that she has drawn. Mora’s words flow like silky poetry and the bright, vibrant and many different colors she uses will capture your child’s eye and expand their imagination. Her illustrations are like no other, they are full of colorful cut paper designs and flavorful prints. Each page you turn looks so realistic, it’s almost as if the pictures are jumping out at you.
Mora’s words and images depict many people from all walks of life in a coalescent fashion. In Omu’s community there are so many different people. There are doctors, cab drivers, and even street vendors. Mora depicts them all as kind and positive people of the community, letting your children know that there are all different kinds of people from so many different places, that can all be brought together, and in Mora’s book they are brought together by the sweet taste of Omu’s yummy and scrumptious stew. There is quite a humanizing experience that happens in this book, that children will gravitate to quickly. This book shows children the importance of sharing and giving. A process that is so easy to do and just requires an energy of love and togetherness. An energy that involves a letting go of ego and pride, and just being open to give. Even though many want Omu’s stew, and even though she worked tirelessly to make it, she grows with each bowl she gives out. Her heart becomes fuller and, in the end, all her love and kindness is rewarded. Through her funky and colorful illustrations, Mora is teaching children the importance of sharing with others, and that is what makes her book is so special and magical!