Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Nasia Usikova illustrated by Nasia Usikova translated by Dwight Harvey

Pub Date: July 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-329-19352-9

A wise owl suggests two lonely creatures open a forest restaurant.

In this illustrated children’s book, a little red fox named Liska is feeling sad because it’s time to leave her adoptive parent, Grandmother owl Sova. She took Liska in when her parents died after eating bad mushrooms. But the fox is now almost grown up, and she needs to dig her own burrow, with Grandma’s advice. Liska makes a cozy burrow, but because the nocturnal owl requires sleep during the day, the fox will need to find a daytime friend. She meets Volk, a wolf rejected by his pack for being a vegetarian. (Of course, wolves are carnivores.) Volk and Liska both love cooking and know many recipes, so Grandma gives them a great idea: “I think you should get together and open a pine tree restaurant for all the birds and beasts of the forest.” Etu the lark spreads the news, and many forest animals help to build the restaurant, where they enjoy a feast prepared by Liska and Volk. The restaurant is a huge success, and the two friends are lonely no more. Seven recipes of forest favorites are included in this first offering from the Get Together Books series. Usikova (Boris Wants a Dog, 2017, etc.) writes a charming little story, with small details that deliver an enchanted-forest atmosphere: “Beaver made a porch in the clearing. Moose beat down a path. Raccoons arranged the tables and chairs.” The author’s childlike illustrations in felt-tipped watercolor pens add naive appeal. Harvey (Boris Wants a Dog, 2017, etc.) translated the tale from the Russian. His recipes (for example, “Bunnies’ Cabbage & Carrot Pot Pies” and “Hedgehog’s Root & Nut Salad”) are clearly written, spelling out servings, prep and cooking  time, equipment, and ingredients as well as step-by-step instructions. The difficulty level ranges from easy to moderate, and a note explains: “The recipes should be made with the company and supervision of an adult.” A vocabulary list is included, but no definitions (“use a dictionary, the internet or ask an adult”).

Provides a sweet animal story, an enjoyable entrée to cooking, and a fun family activity.