Thursday, September 29, 2011

Acorns and Stew, too

Ruth Orbach 

I was initially attracted to this book because of the vintage style illustrations. They remind me of a few of the treasured picture books from my childhood. Then I read that this was originally published over twenty-five years ago as "Acorns and Stew." This is a revised edition with original illustrations, but updated contemporary text. These are not vintage style illustrations, but the real deal!

Lenore loves living in her beautiful row house, with its sunny yellow door and a giant tree right growing right outside her front stoop. She adores curling up in her cozy room, the fuchsia comforter spread neatly across her big yellow bed. Her cat, Sam, follows her everywhere, sleeps in her bed, and curls up under the kitchen chair while she eats breakfast. Most of all, Lenore loves the ducks who live by the lake. She feeds them every day and they love her right back. With all this happiness, why is Lenore worried?

Cold weather is coming and Lenore knows her ducks will have to fly away for the winter. Cut to illustration of the little girl and the ducks with tears running down their cheeks (and beaks). Lenore brainstorms and comes up with an idea she believes will work. She gathers up the materials and starts sawing, hammering, painting and sewing right there in her cozy house.   

On the first day of winter, Lenore treats the ducks to a banquet table loaded down with a feast, which includes acorns and stew (book title!), porridge, biscuits, and plums. Then she buttons each one into the winter coats she stitched up, and directs them to the tiny, colorful houses she built. The ducks will be able to stay all winter long!

This book cracked me up. Ducks enjoying acorns and stew, wearing overcoats and living in brightly colored homemade houses. Completely illogical ... and wonderful. Black and white drawings punctuated with splashes of bright pinks, oranges, and yellows give the book such a happy feel. Now you know that if you happen to see a duck wearing an overcoat this winter, feel free to offer him an acorn or a dish of stew.

Review copy provided by Kane Miller. 

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