Empty Fridge

Gaëtan Dorémus. Wilkins Farago (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-9871099-3-4
French author/illustrator Dorémus offers a “Stone Soup” for the modern day in a story first published in 2009. Fittingly, the book’s tall format is quite refrigerator-like in its proportions; opening it reveals neighbors in a five-story apartment building, who all discover their pantries are bare. “There’s not a single packet of noodles in a single cupboard,” writes Dorémus (Bear Despair). “To cut a long story short: it’s a disaster!” Spindly ink cartoons on tan backgrounds present a cross-section of the building, as residents peer into cabinets and stare into empty bowls. A bearded man named Andrew—who plays music for spare change and has set up camp near the mailboxes—makes the first discovery: three carrots. Climbing the stairs, he visits Nabil, who has two eggs and a bit of cheese. They climb further, meeting neighbors and gathering scant ingredients until they find the perfect answer: quiche. Dorémus splashes his characters and pages with bright colors that correspond to their contributions, building on the growing sense of jubilation and camaraderie. By book’s end, the celebration has spread to the streets: “Slices of quiche, slices of life.” What could be better? Ages 5–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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