Picture book month continues here at Book Review Wednesday, but first a word from our sponsors…
Now back to our regularly scheduled program. When the temperatures cool it is a good idea to pull out the ingredients for a little soup– the ultimate comfort food. In my husband's family, the joke is that a chef can't make truly good soup until they've reached 40. (We're there.) To pull together the right ingredients and spices, and end up with love in a pot, it takes creativity, know-how, and risk taking.
Ruthie, in The Princess of Borscht, has all of these qualities. The Princess of Borscht, written by Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member Leda Schubert, and illustrated by another VCFA faculty member, Bonnie Christensen comes out Tuesday, November 22rd. (Happy Book Birthday Leda and Bonnie!)
From the publisher:
Ruthie's grandma is in the hospital, not surprisingly complaining about the food. All she wants is a nice bowl of borscht. Ruthie comes to the rescue, even though she hasn't the faintest idea of how to make it. With the help of a few well-meaning neighbors (including the Tsarina of Borscht and the Empress of Borscht and some ingenuity of her own), a soul-reviving brew is concocted…
The book has earned a star from Kirkus:
"Of course, it’s not just about borscht or even about cooking, though there’s a great recipe included. Schubert has concocted a sweet mixture of traditions that bind and give comfort, along with love in many forms; intergenerational family, friends and neighbors all act with selflessness, kindness and compassion. Christensen’s heavily outlined, strongly colored illustrations emphasize equally strong personalities. The paintings are filled with details that add interest to the proceedings, from the array of get-well cards in the hospital room to the homey, old-fashioned décor of Grandma’s apartment."
The book also got some attention from the New York Times (that's nothing to sneeze at):
"Schubert (“Ballet of the Elephants”) turns the story of a sick relative, not a particularly cheery topic, into a sweet and salty tale, warmed by Christensen’s lively sketches, about bickering Jewish neighbors and intergenerational caregiving."
Soups on, grab a book!