Acorns and Stew, Too by Ruth Orbach
First published 25 years ago, this book has a classic feel combined with a great story. Lenore loved a lot about her life, but most of all she loved the ducks who lived near the lake. She visited them every day and fed them bread and other food. But winter was approaching, so Lenore knew that soon the ducks were going to fly south. She made them little houses to live in, fed them on stew and acorns, even made winter coats for them. In the end, the ducks did not fly south. They stayed with Lenore.
I love the ending of this book, where the ducks stay for the winter. So often, children in stories are infinitely creative and resourceful, but they don’t create real change. Here the universe shifted a bit to make room for Lenore and her dreams. Orbach writes with real joy. She delights in the small moments of creation that Lenore has, the attachment of the ducks to Lenore is evident too. She has created a book where emotions are tangible and hard work really makes a difference.
Orbach’s art has a vintage feel. The illustrations are done in ink on white and then colored with wild bursts of color. The yellow is warm, the red pops, the pink is beyond bright, and the yellow is neon. It all makes for an eye-poppingly bright book. At the same time, the illustrations have a whimsical feel. The bright colors and the whimsy make for an interesting contrast with one another.
I hadn’t read this years ago, so I’m very happy to find it now. Here is a sweet, clever and empowering story for children. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Kane Miller.