Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the author to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.
I love food. I’m a fan of going out to dinner, experimenting with different recipes and watching Hell’s Kitchen. Molly is also a fan of these food things, especially watching Hell’s Kitchen while cooking in her play kitchen.
Arial is definitely becoming one of my favorite characters in a picture book series. I’ve previously reviewed Arial the Youtuber (an Amazon best seller) and I’m so excited to share another Arial story today that involves food!
Arial the Chef, by Mary Nhin, is a fabulous story about the importance of working hard and helping others.
I really like how Arial’s Youtube videos continues into this book. We pick up with her recording a new video for making sushi at home (she makes it look so easy!). Arial wants to purchase a sushi robot to help her cut rolls, but she doesn’t have $400.
The family makes and delivers dinner to their neighbor, who is sick. Britany, the daughter, reveals that her dad may lose his job because he needs a surgery to get better, but the family can’t afford it. This bit of information may seem random and out of place, but it’s an important component to the overall plot and message.
To make money, Arial opens a sushi bar. Her grand opening is busy, but soon she realizes the struggles of starting a new business. Even though she feels defeated, Arial looks to her parents for advice, and they give her some great ideas. I love how Arial’s family works as a team to support one another. Her parents’ ideas allow Arial to gain some momentum with her sushi bar, and at the end of the month she is able to walk away with a profit.
But, wait, there’s more! With her $400 profits, Arial doesn’t buy the sushi robot, but instead goes to Britany’s and gives her the money! This act of kindness makes my heart so full and speaks volumes to young readers. The overall theme of the text can be summed up by this quote from the book. “She proved to herself she could do hard things and help others.” I am absolutely head over heels for this quote and want to put it in my office. I love, love, love the lessons of grit and kindness that this book offers. I feel like I fall more in love with Arial with each story she’s in.
And, just like Arial the Youtuber, Nhin provides some great extras at the end of the book. First, there is a step-by-step guide for making sushi at home and how to open a sushi bar. Super cool fun fact, the author has experience with opening a sushi restaurant! There is also a vocabulary activity, discussion topics, a writing exercise and drawing space for readers to interact with the story.
I think this book would be fabulous when discussing theme, characterization, or character education in a classroom or homeschool environment for students in grades 1-3.
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