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.
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!