Too many cooks can make wonderful borscht.
Ruthie’s grandmother is in the hospital recovering from pneumonia, but the hospital food is so terrible that she tells Ruthie to bring her some homemade borscht “or who knows what will happen.” Fearful of the consequences of failure, Ruthie searches for the secret recipe without success. She calls on her grandma’s neighbors for help. They are, respectively, the Empress, First Lady and Tsarina of Borscht. Each gives advice and ingredients, while Ruthie adds a touch of her own. Armed with sour cream from Mr. Lee at the corner store (maybe he’s the King of Borscht?), she brings the borscht to Grandma, the real Queen of Borscht, who pronounces it perfect. Ruthie has saved Grandma just in time. 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.
Appetizing and heartwarming. (Picture book. 3-9)