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HAPPY BELLY, HAPPY SMILE by Rachel Isadora

HAPPY BELLY, HAPPY SMILE

By Rachel Isadora (Author) , Rachel Isadora (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-15-206546-1
Publisher: Harcourt

The smile-inducing title and cover image of an Asian boy holding a fortune cookie invite readers inside to the story. “Friday is my favorite day. On Fridays I have dinner with Grandpa Sam. He owns a restaurant in Chinatown.” Louie gets to go into the kitchen and say hello to Chef Ben and watch Chef Lee chop vegetables and the bicycle delivery boy pick up an order. Grandpa orders Louie’s favorite dinner of steamed dumplings, egg rolls and shrimp chow mein with oranges and fortune cookies for dessert. His fortune is the title phrase, and Louie makes a smile with his orange slice. This Chinatown is generic and could be anywhere, and Louie’s dinner serves up a universal experience with a clever twist at the end. The oil-on-palette-paper collage illustrations effectively portray the scenes with striations and textures. Isadora’s technique here is much better suited to this original story than her Africanized folktales (Hansel & Gretel, 2008, etc.). The photographic image of the fortune cookie adds a sweet touch. (Picture book. 4-7)