7 Delicious Children’s Books About Food and Cooking

When a young child loves a book, they’re likely to wheedle older peeople into reading it with them. Parents, babysitters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, older siblings and cousins – no one is safe from the 26th repetition of the cherished story! So for all those adults (and anyone giving gifts to children) here’s the next installment in my kids’ book series: high-quality children’s books about food and cooking.

(New to my blog? All my children’s book recommendations are here, or check out my children’s books Pinterest board. My book posts all use affiliate links, but check your local library too!)

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert is great as a board book, to look at with very young kids. The paintings are absolutely beautiful. I always found it a respite from cartoony children’s illustrations when I desperately needed something softer and more complex to enjoy. Older children who are into art will probably appreciate the paperback version because the pictures are bigger and easier to study.

Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa with illustrations by Junji Koyose. This was one of the first children’s books we fell in love with. When a young boy needs a birthday cake, all his mom has to do is make a call. To a crew of hundreds of tiny people who use construction equipment to mix, bake, and decorate the perfect cake. Any kid who likes little cute things and/or big trucks should get a kick out of this. Seeing the giant-scale eggs strapped to flatbed trucks may be my favorite part. Lots of small details in this one. I asked Boy Detective what he liked about this book and he said “Everything!”

How To Make an Apple Pie and See The World by Marjorie Priceman. This is such a magic, enchanting story! Need to make an apple pie, but the market is closed? Of course the only sensible thing to do is travel the world to collect your ingredients. The followup, How To Make a Cherry Pie and See The U.S.A., was a complete bust for us. I like good books about manufacturing as much as the next gal, but I was expecting more wonderful flight of fancy and what I got was more prosaic industrial travelogue.

The Max and Ruby books are sometimes fun, and sometimes… well, let’s just say we hope Rosemary Wells doesn’t have to worry about money now. Bunny Cakes is on the “fun” list. Max and Ruby’s sibling relationship is so funny to me, because Ruby is so perfectionistic and wants to be in control, but it doesn’t seem to bother Max one bit. He just goes on with his life and projects. Ruby wants Grandma’s cake to be perfect, but with little brother Max involved, she’s forced to employ ever-escalating methods of keeping his well-intentioned destruction at bay. Meanwhile, Max is convinced that on one of his trips to the store for replacement ingredients, he can score some of his favorite candy to decorate his own cake for Grandma if he can just get his handwriting perfect. Whose cake will be ready in time?

To Market, To Market by Anna Miranda, illustrated by Janet Stevens. This book is SO ridiculous (in a good way). Color paintings superimposed over black and white photographs of a grocery store show the escalating chaos at a woman’s house as she makes repeated trips to the store for various animals. I swear, I’ve had days that felt just like hers. When she finally ends up with her glasses knocked off and a duck on her head, the animals take her to the store to get the stuff for vegetable soup. Awwww!

The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin. I’m sure almost every child can sympathize with the daughter in this story. Mom won’t let us have the same thing everyone else has! She just keeps saying that’s the way it is! And when the “thing” is what’s growing in the yard, everyone in the neighborhood can see it! But when the secret is revealed, everyone in the neighborhood gets on board with the amazing ugly vegetables. Love the diversity of the neighborhood, also love the fact that its message is delivered without a two by four.

Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly by Carolyn Parkhurst, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Hosting a wildly popular cooking show with a two year old assistant can be fun. When she’s not putting a slice of pizza into the bowl of waffle batter. Or insisting you both wear pirate hats. However with flexibility, a good theme song, sponsor support, and a solid recipe, it will all turn out fine! Boy Detective and I were cracking up the whole time we read this, especially when Mom calls “work it out, you two!” from the other room.

And that’s the list of our favorite children’s books about food! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!

16 thoughts on “7 Delicious Children’s Books About Food and Cooking

  1. Christina

    I have the same hot and cold feelings about Max and Ruby books. Some are good, some make me cringe. I don’t think we read Bunny Cakes, though – must have missed it in our library trips.

  2. Gale

    What a great idea for a blog series! I haven’t read any of these…thanks for the suggestions.

    Mind if I suggest one for a future post? “A Quiet Night In” by Jill Murphy is one of my faves. My kids love it, but this story is really for mom’s and dads. It’s about this Elephant mom and dad with four kids…the mom is making a birthday dinner for the dad and trying to get the kids to be early. And…well, I’ll leave the rest for you to read if you can find this at your local library or book store.

  3. Skye

    Gale, suggestions are always welcome! Our library didn’t have this one so I put it on our bookstore list.

    Christina I think part of why I like it is that I can see myself in both Ruby AND Max in this one…

  4. alianora

    To Market, To Market is one of my favorite kids’ books! I love having my kiddos in class point out all the silly things the animals are doing.

    Not relevant, but who cares: my absolute FAVORITE kids’ book is Stephanie’s Ponytail – which, as a kid who rarely gave a shit what other kids thought about me, makes me cackle with glee.

  5. Skye

    Kelly, my guess is that in your house, you’re looking for new things to read DAILY. :)

    Madaline I hope you can find at least one of them!

    alianora we had JUST brought Stephanie’s Ponytail home from the library the week before you wrote this, and Boy Detective was over the moon with it. Has anyone but us ever read To Market, To Market?!

    IdealistMom Kelly, the other great thing about Eating the Alphabet is kids learn the names of all kinds of produce they’ll then refuse to eat for years. :)

  6. Pary Moppins

    We seem to have tons of food related books…I wonder if that directly correlates to how much we all like food? ;) What about A Pipkin of Pepper, Mr. Wolf & the Enormous Turnip, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Pumpkin Soup, so many kiddie foodie books, so little time… ;) Another great list!

  7. Skye

    Ashley thanks for stopping by, hope you find something good. :)

    Pary Moppins thanks for the suggestions! I’m not much of a foodie myself but Boy D likes to cook so we’re in!

  8. Skye

    We have spent a LOT of quality time with the Austin Public Library in the last 6 years, that’s for sure!

  9. Molly Young

    I taught elementary school for 5 years and have always looooved children’s books! Will have to check these out for my little ones at the library. Thanks for sharing!

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