A generous woman is rewarded by her community in this remarkable author-illustrator debut that's perfect for the Thanksgiving season, perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street.
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 a heartwarming story of sharing and community to life 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."
If you are reading this review in late November, Happy Thanksgiving!
Omu means "queen," in Igbo, which is the tradition from which Mora writes. It has the shape of a folk tale, somewhat like Stone Soup in that food makes community. Omu is a grandmother who makes a rich Igbo stew and everyone that passes by and smells it cooking and knocks on her door gets a helping. . . until it is gone, alas. Though they all come back in the end to share their food with her, too. It's about gratitude, helping others, sharing.
Great collage art, colorful. I read this because Amanda said it was her favorite picture book of the year, and I liked it a lot, too.
I love everything about this book. The story makes me cry, but in a good way. Omu (pronounced AH-moo) is so sweet and I loved her right from the start. Reading about her makes my heart happy. There is a decent amount of words per page but it's still a relatively quick read. The art is absolutely beautiful! Done in a mixed media format, each page is truly stunning and brimming with such wonderful color. This will definitely be one I read to my kids regularly. I highly recommend this for all ages, either to be read to the younger ones (up to 8), or for them to read to themselves (8 and up).
Although the accompanying illustrations of Oge Mora's Thank You, Omu! would generally and aesthetically speaking be just a bit too cartoon-like for them to be considered absolute personal favourites, I have indeed been more than pleasantly surprised at how much I have visually enjoyed them and how the pictures both colour scheme and general descriptiveness wise do indeed work very well with the author/illustrator's presented verbal narrative, how glowingly both text and images mirror and reflect the importance of being good neighbours and sharing, of giving freely and without second thought (and even if one literally gives away everything, like how Omu gives away all of her stew, all of her supper fare, that in a thriving and vibrant, that in a caring and community oriented neighbourhood, good deeds will fortunately not like that silly saying states end up resulting in personal punishment but will instead mostly if not always have positive effects and help cement and strengthen neighbourhood ties).
Educational without being didactic, I love the naturally multicultural feel of Thank you, Omu! and that everyone (ethnicity notwithstanding) appreciates both Omu and her delicious red stew, that Omu's doors are indeed welcomingly open to absolutely one and all, including members of the police, as well as the mayor (and yes, I have also very much enjoyed reading how according to Oge Mora's author's note, Omu's name might mean queen in the Igbo language of her Nigerian parents but for her, growing up, it was the name she called her grandmother). A simple but magical combination of Oge Mora's lovingly tender (and obviously from the author's note also her grandmother honouring) printed words and bright collage like illustrations, Thank you, Omu! has been a surprisingly sweet reading experience for me (with especially the final illustration of Omu and everyone to whom she had doled out some of her delicious red stew during the day enjoying a spontaneous supper party tugging at my heartstrings, and indeed, I also kind of had to smile at the scene of the hot dog vendor coming up to get some of Omu's delicious stew, that Omu's cookery is definitely and naturally much more enticing taste and scent wise to the hot dogs, to the so-called street meat it is his job to sell day in and day out). And really, the only inclusion to Thank you, Omu! that would in my opinion make this book even better would be a featured recipe for Omu's red stew (as I for one love soups and stews and would majorly enjoy trying my hand at cooking this for myself).
Omu is cooking a delicious thick red stew - YUM! It’s so aromatic that people in her building come to her door asking what she is cooking. Then people off the street come by. Being generous, Omu gives each of them a bowl of stew. They love it. The problem arises when she goes to eat her dinner, nothing is left. It’s the best red stew she has made and she is sad she did not eat it. All those people bring dinner to her and they have a large community meal together and it’s the best meal Omu has eaten.
The artwork is a collage. It’s nice artwork, but it didn’t blow me away and it didn’t really impress me. I do like this book, but I don’t know that it is really Caldecott worthy. I have read a lot better for the year 2018, but I’m not on the committee. I want to know why awards don’t do humor. It’s rare to ever get a humorous book on a list. I don’t get why that is?
Like I have said before, I have been looking for community and this book does appeal to that desire. Omu does wind up bringing community to her and I love that idea.
The nephew didn’t think red stew sounded all that great and this was a bit too pedestrian for him. He said it was boring. He gave this 2 stars. He was trying to be funny when he said, “It looks pretty gross to me.” The niece thought this was a nice book about community. She didn’t like the artwork, but thought the story was solid so she gave this 3 stars.
This exuberant debut is sure to be a favorite read aloud. It's sort of a reverse Stone Soup in that Omu gives and gives and gives until she has no dinner for herself. The crisp collages help propel the story of a generous soul.
Omu cooks her delicious red stew all day in this delightful debut picture-book from author/illustrator Oge Mora, generously offering a portion to everyone who follows their nose and knocks on her door. When she finally reaches her own dinnertime however, she discovers that there is nothing left in her big pot. What will she do? Fortunately, her generosity finds its response in the people with whom she has shared, people who want to say: "Thank You, Omu!"
Omu, which apparently means "queen" in Igbo, the language of Oge Mora's parents, is a wonderful exemplar of generosity and kindness, qualities which are amply repaid in this story. The narrative is simple and repetitive, structured in a way that reminds me of various folktales I have read over the years, and which would make for an excellent read-aloud, I believe. The artwork, done with cut paper and collage, is charming, capturing the reader's eye with its bright colors, and keeping her attention with the many little details. I appreciated the story here, and the fact that everyone in the community, from vendors to police officers, is welcome. Recommended to anyone looking for new picture-books about generosity and gratitude.
What a beautiful story of selflessness and appreciation!! If I give too many details, then I will have to hide my review because of spoilers. What I can say is that this story truly restores confidence in human nature. And, for the young reader, Thank You, Omu! speaks to the importance of kindness and not taking others fore granted. It is the little things we do, which can mean so much.
It is always wonderful to share this book with different groups of kids. I am always curious as to how it will be received. And, so far, I have never been disappointed. When I read this to my class, several days ago, their responses almost brought tears to my eyes. They spoke of the importance of helping others and sharing. They spoke of how it is important to be kind to others, even people you may not know. WOW!! With everything going on in our country, it made me hopeful about our future.
During this past summer, I had the pleasure of listening to Oge Mora read the book and discuss her art. She was such a delight, and so is this story. It's a beautiful book and her lovingly made collages give much depth to her sweet characters.
Thank You, Omu! could easily be read as a companion story with any of the various versions of "Stone Soup" out there. While the plot is a bit different, the message of generosity is similar.
Omu makes herself a big pot of thick red stew for her dinner. But the stuff smells so good that, throughout the day, people arrive on her doorstep wanting to know where that delicious aroma is coming from. She feels she has stew to spare, so she gives everyone a taste. By the end of the day, however, she's been so generous that the pot is empty and there's nothing left for her own dinner! Luckily, all the people she shared with decide to return the favour, and they show up bearing gifts that turn the evening into a friendly community feast.
The collage illustrations give the book a unique, colourful look. (I like how Omu's stew is a floral print!) The pictures are simple, but they--along with the touches of coloured text--complement the story perfectly.
This is a lovely book about generosity and community. Highly recommended to those looking for strong stories with a message about sharing.
Thanksgiving may now be past in the United States, but there’s no end date on sharing, giving thanks, and giving back. Author-illustrator Oge Mora’s debut picture book Thank You, Omu! is a gorgeous soon-to-be classic. It is perfect for year-round reading, and holiday gifting.
The thick red stew that Omu is making will surely be the best dinner that she has ever eaten. It smells wonderful and the taste test promises great things. However, when she sits down to read while she waits, the scent of her stew draws others to her door – first a little boy, then a police officer, then a hot dog vendor, and so on! After a day spent sharing a bowl with everyone who asks, Omu is left without any stew for her own dinner. Soon a knock on her door reveals everyone with whom she shared her meal, there this time to give, and not take.
Mora’s story is full of good cheer – generosity, hospitality, sharing food, and sharing company. It’s a simple story, but an evocative one, and it serves as a sort of modern parable. Omu’s unselfish giving prompts others not only to enjoy what they take, but also to give back themselves. It portrays an ideal, but one that is always worth sharing in hard times.
Other themes/things to love about the story: giving thanks when you can’t contribute things, making community, kindness to strangers, and a new plan or situation being even better than the old one because of a gratitude, and a full heart.
And the art! The art is *kisses fingers* fantastic. Truly classic picture book material, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats’ work, including perennial favorite The Snowy Day. Mora’s cut paper artwork utilizes painted and patterned paper, some clipped from books or maps. She also uses markers, acrylics, and more. It’s a mixed media wonderland. The endpapers are the city street grid rendered in blocky cut paper squares. The wafting scent of the stew is illustrated by rising steam that reaches farther and farther in the city. A mix of cut paper lettering and type make for evocative text setting – readers will know when to emphasize certain words to make the story sing. I can’t praise the art and design enough – they are truly special.
In all, Thank You, Omu! is an artful, food- and community-themed picture book with a diverse cast of characters and gorgeous and vibrant cut paper art. It belongs in every picture book collection.
Recommended for: any and every reader ages 3 and up, and especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas storytimes, though the messages of sharing and caring are necessary and important all the year long.
What goes around comes around and it is better to give than to receive. This is a story that offers a counter point to the themes in The Red Little Hen and Stone Soup. Omu makes a stew, but instead of asking others to contribute or help; she gives the stew away. How her neighbors show their gratitude makes for a beautiful story about sharing. This one would be perfect for RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) on February 17.
Omu made a stew. Throughout the day people drawn by the smell knocked on her door, and she shared. When it was time to eat her meal, none was left. When another knock came, Omu went to the door to say there was no more stew, but instead those with whom she shared had brought a meal to share with her. The illustrations are nicely done.
Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora is a 2018 picture book that received a 2019 Caldecott Honor for illustrations, and it also received a 2019 John Steptoe Award for New Talent. The protagonist in this story is called Omu, which is Igbo for “queen” according to the author’s notes, and Mora’s story is a warm tale about a grandmother whose traditional Igbo stew draws the attention and hunger of a plethora of community members who smell her savory meal as it wafts from her window. Children aged 4-8 will delight in the refrain of “thick red stew in a big fat pot” as different people knock on her door to have a taste. Omu shares her stew first with a young boy and then a police officer, and more people visit in hopes for a bowl of her food. Will Omu continue to share her stew with everyone else who knocks on her door? What will happen if she runs out? As the plot unfolds, young readers will enjoy the poetic repetition of the simple vocabulary and syntax, making them sway with the singsong rhythm as Omu’s true heart is revealed.
Despite the author’s authentic perspective, the cultural aspect woven through the plot is light; instead, the story relies heavily on themes of generosity and cultural interdependence that shine through the indirect characterization of Omu and her neighbors and glow through the vibrant artwork on each page.
The digital version of this text may leave those who prefer the tangibility of hardcover books yearning to flip the heavily illustrated pages, but for those with a penchant for iBook or Kindle, HD screens still offer a vibrant performance of the pictures and a convenient zoom feature for deeper probing.
Potential classroom activities could ask readers to predict whether or not Omu will share all of her stew, infer a young boy’s message inside the thank you note, and predict what happens when it is time for Omu to have dinner herself. Students can connect to the text by identifying their own beloved family recipes, and they can connect to the text by sharing moments of generosity that they have given or received in their own lives.
One day Omu cooks a bit pot of thick, delicious red stew for her dinner. The delicious smell wafts down through the apartment building... out the street... and soon there's a knock on Omu's door. Before she knows it, the stew is gone to her neighbors! The next knock on the door brings an unexpected surprise.
This is a sweet story about giving selflessly and receiving in return. Omu, the igbo word for queen, or the term the author/illustrator used for her beloved Nigerian grandmother, reminds me of my Nonnie. My Nonnie cooked enough food for our large family, the family next door, plus the Army and the Navy. She gave away more than she ate herself and was a much loved member of the community. I love the sweet, simple message in this story. The text is a little repetitive, suitable for very young children. They can guess what happens next as the adult turns the page. Children can recite the next line after a few pages.
The mixed media illustrations are colorful and feature people in various colors, shades and different genders. The police officer is a woman, which is unexpected and a nice touch. I really appreciate this multicultural neighborhood. This particular style does not appeal to my personal tastes, however.
The author/illustrator is local and the book is getting such rave reviews, it is sold out of the local shop where she used to work. I applaud the effort Oge Mora took to bring this story to the world. I'm sure younger nephew has this at his preschool and nieces and older nephew wouldn't look at it.
I've been reading all the 2018 picture books I can, including nominations for best picture book here on Goodreads. Thank You, Omu! was not nominated, but it's my favorite of all I've read so far. I thought it worthy of taking a moment to mention. What I love about it:
Debut author Oge Mora is also the illustrator, I love her collage art. I enjoy looking closer at the layers that make the pictures, and it reminds me of a project I did with my youngest when he was in 3rd grade.
It's not too long and not too short, the text is "just right" for a read aloud picture book.
It begins with a note to the reader: "Omu" (pronounced AH-moo) is the Igbo term for "queen." There is something awkward and humbling about not knowing how to pronounce the words when reading a children's book aloud! ☺ I love the opening note to the reader.
The sense of community and neighborhood. There's a "who are the people in your neighborhood" feel to it.
The sharing and thanks. Maybe my heart strings were tweaked a little extra because it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. But this is sweet, simple story of giving and gratitude.
I love that it's also is a tribute to neighborhood grandmas (and the author's own grandmother.) I was lucky to have an amazing neighbor grandma when I was growing up. Every child, and neighborhood, should be so lucky.
When Omu makes her thick red stew in her apartment, its delicious smell brings people to her door to discover what she is cooking. One by one, she feeds each of them some of her stew. There is the little boy, the police officer, the hotdog vendor, and many more. By the time Omu has given each of them a bowl, her large pot of stew is empty and there isn’t any left for her own dinner! Someone once again knocks on her door and it is all of the people she fed that day offering their own thanks and food to share with her.
Mora writes with the feel of a traditional tale. On just the first page, there is a cadence that feels immediately familiar and warm. Details are shared in just the right way, then the repetition kicks in, linking this even more with a traditional folktale. Mora has crafted the book with collage pages that combine different mediums. The stew itself is always red and often flowered. The smell wafts across the page in a swath of light-colored haze. Meanwhile, the vibrant urban community is brought to life and abuzz with energy.
A top read-aloud of the year, this picture book should be shared just like red stew. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Wow, that is a happy, good feeling book! It definitely put a smile on my face! As Omu reads a book, she lets the thick, red stew that she just made for her dinner simmer on the stove.
Soon, she gets a knock on the door and it’s a visitor who has smelled her delicious stew from down the hallway. Omu offers the small boy some of her stew which he eats (picture shows him licking the bowl).
All day long, the stew simmers on the stove, the delicious smell soaring through the air, drifting over the city. Omu has quite a few grateful visitors during the day. It’s dinnertime and when she takes the lid off the pot, Omu is in for a surprise.
I liked the facial expressions and the vocabulary that was used in this children’s book. The illustrations themselves, were very colorful and festive but the expressions did an excellent job conveying their feelings. Using everyday words with complex words, I liked the book’s language. The characters showed great etiquette to each other. A great book to share.
First sentence: On the corner of First Street and Long Street, on the very top floor, Omu was cooking a thick red stew in a big fat pot for a nice evening meal. She seasoned and stirred it and took a small taste.
Premise/plot: Omu is making a thick, red stew. It smells AMAZING. The smell is so amazing that it brings people--one at a time--to her home. Omu begins to share her meal. Will she have enough for herself?
My thoughts: I really loved this one. Omu is such a sweet, generous soul. And as she opens her home and her heart to others, they are blessed indeed. This one has the best possible ending all things considered: though she may run out of her amazing stew, the community returns with their own gifts to thank her.
Thank You, Omu! is a Caldecott Honor book for 2019.
Text: 5 out of 5 Illustrations: 3 out of 5 Total: 8 out of 10
Omu is the Nigerian word for "queen", but in the author's family it was used as her grandmother's name. In this story Omu cooks a big pot of delicious, fragrant red stew. As neighbors and workers in the neighborhood smell it they all come knocking, and she gives each of them a bowl. By the end of the day when her meal time comes around her stew pot is empty, but suddenly all of those who've received knock upon her door and bring their own foods to feast upon. It's a lovely story with beautiful collage work for the illustrations. I can't wait to use it in storytime - it's got great repetition to the story. I feel certain we'll be seeing it on awards lists. Definite win.