It is not hard to see why Friday is Louie’s favorite day in Happy Belly, Happy Smile by Rachel Isadora. On Friday nights, Louie gets to visit his grandfather’s restaurant in Chinatown. Upon arriving, Louie and his grandfather visit the big fish tank in the window, and the two stop by the kitchen before having their dinner. Louie gets to see all the different roles played in the restaurant like Chief Lee chopping vegetables with his quick hands and Jai preparing for deliveries regardless of the kind of weather. Louie and his grandfather eat all different kinds of foods with chopsticks beneath a vibrantly colored paper dragon, and Louie even sees one of his friends eating nearby. The book has a very satisfying ending when Louie’s grandfather reads the message from a fortune cookie: “Happy food, happy belly, happy smile.” The story is accompanied by beautifully textured illustrations and offers a fresh, cultural restaurant experience for children of all ages!
Anna Blair Solomon