In his first picture book, I Have a Restaurant, author Ryan Afromsky utilizes his experience as a restaurateur to take kids on a playful inside tour of a restaurant from the arrival of the staff, set up, deliveries, food preparation to clean up at the end of the day. Kids have such a natural curiosity about how everyday things around them work, and Afromsky uses simple, kid-friendly language to provide a behind-the-scenes peek of the day-to-day operations of a restaurant.
Complemented by Ron Noble’s charming and expressive illustrations, the author does a really good job distilling the complexities of running a restaurant into a light-hearted romp through the restaurant owner’s day. From the name of the book’s restaurant “Ryan’s Place” to the caricature-like illustrations of Ryan to the author bio. in which we find out that the author started his own restaurant, Melt Down Etc., at 26, we can assume that the main character, Ryan, is the author himself. This very personal approach gives the book a chummy, arms-around-the-shoulder feel that is appealing.
Afromsky’s conversational tone and uncluttered prose keeps this story engaging, and children turning the page. As with most picture books, I tested this one on my kindergartner who was captivated by the story and drawn to the colorful illustrations.
As with most Kendahl House Press books, a set of questions at the end of the book helps enhance kids’ critical thinking skills and makes this book an interactive experience for the child and the adult reader.
Reviewed for BookPleasures.com