My Father’s Luncheonette, by Melanie Hope Greenberg, Dutton Children’s Books, 1991. Preschool to Early Elementary.
My Father’s Luncheonette starts off with these lines: “My father’s luncheonette is twelve hops on my left foot, eight hops on my right foot, twenty-three skips, and around the corner from where I live. “ And that perfect opening sentence sets the tone for this book. The story takes place in an age that I did not live, and in a place that I have never lived, and yet, because this story is so wonderfully personal, I can relate to it. It feels familiar.
The artwork also feels familiar. Maybe because I’ve seen Ms. Greenberg’s work before and for a while – maybe Unicef? Her illustrations are packed with charm and whimsy. They look deceptively simple, almost as if the narrator herself drew them, if, that is, that eight-year-old narrator had an unerring eye for color and balance, and textures and patterns.