Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Empty Fridge by Gaetan Doremus

Over the last year quite a large number of new books have been added to my school library and since I have been away for the whole year I am now trying to catch up on all this reading.  The pile beside my bed grows taller each day.  Today I picked up a couple of the new picture book additions one of which was Empty Fridge.

This book is brilliant. It is a simple celebration of community via a shared meal made from ingredients collected from each of the inhabitants of a tall apartment building.  Everyone has had a busy day "so much so that no one has thought of buying anything to eat. There's not a single packet of noddles in a single cupboard, not a single onion in any one's fridge. To cut a long story short : it's a disaster!"

It turns out each person in the building can rustle up one or two simple ingredients until they reach the top floor where everyone reviews the collection.  Flour, butter, milk, three carrots, five tomatoes, a capsicum, some chives, two eggs and a little bit of cheese.  What can they make?  A quiche. One quiche turns into a neighborhood celebration.  The final illustration is a riot of colour as tables are set up outside and everyone shares a quiche or two.  "Slices of quiche, slices of life."

The touches of colour among the black and white line drawings reminded me of an old favourite book Murgatroyd's Garden illustrated by Drahos Zark.  Empty Fridge was originally published in France in 2008.  I am so happy some one decided to do an English translation.  Quite simply this is a joyous book!  As a bonus its size and shape mean it looks just like a fridge.

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