The heart of the home is the kitchen, so its no surprise that kids love books that have a food component. Whether your kids love to cook or want to be a restaurant critic, there are lots of options for you.
Instead of individual pairings, today’s “menu” is a collection of different ideas that blend well with any of our book suggestions. Once you’ve picked your book, consider mixing in …
- Kid-friendly kitchen tools
- Personalized apron
- Seeds to grow a specific ingredient (tomatoes) or herbs
- Food journal or recipe notebook
One of my personal favorites is to plan an event for the future – tour a farm, visit a farmer’s market, go to a restaurant that features a food or cuisine of interest … the sky is the limit, really.
A toddler helps make pizza for dinner, including meal planning, shopping, preparing the dough and ingredients, setting the table and cleaning up afterward. Each page has short sentences or questions relating to the pictured activity.
Parent reviewer: My kids (18 months, 3 years) really like this board book. They loved the colorful pictures. I really loved that the pages were laminated, so I was able to let them flip through the books by themselves (without worrying so much about them ripping the pages).
It’s Saturday! A little girl wakes up and is so excited for the weekly trip to the farmer’s market with her parents. She has money, but what should she buy? Veggies, flowers, bread, a floppy hat? As she goes through the market (creating a mess along the way), she finds just the thing: a watering can for her own plants.
Parent reviewer: My kids (ages 3 and 5) loved the illustrations and related to the little girl, especially her excitement for the farmer’s market. My kids thought the little girl was so funny and giggled every time she knocked something over. It’s a relatable story, and the little girl’s enthusiasm is infectious.
Another great Board Book choice: We’re Going to the Farmer’s Market
Matilda Macaroni doesn’t want chicken nuggets or boxed macaroni or takeout or cereal anymore. But her parents wouldn’t try any new foods. Matilda, on the other hand, tried new foods every chance she got. With help from Grandma, she learned to read recipes, got ingredients at the farmer’s market, and help with cooking. When Matilda announced that she was cooking dinner that night, she was worried. Would they eat what she served?
This fun, humorous story turns the idea of picky eaters on its head in a way that encourages kids to take the lead in trying new foods. Matilda is spunky and might just inspire kids to take the spatula into their own hands. My favorite part: the family started cooking together.
Granny wants to make an apple pie for dinner. She has all the ingredients except one: APPLES! She only has plums. So she takes her plums to see if she can trade someone for apples. She finds someone who will trade feathers for her plums, and what follows is a cycle of bartering for various goods (feathers, flowers, gold, a puppy). At the last stop, she finally finds her apples and invites EVERYONE to her home, where they all work together to make the apple pie and, of course, eat it!
Parent reviewer: My boys (ages 3 and 5) enjoyed the book. It was wonderful to talk to them about trading and trying to help other people out to meet their needs. I picked the book the first time, then they kept asking to read it.
NOTEWORTHY: The book includes an apple pie recipe at the back.
Starting with the United States and traveling East until we get to China, readers make lots of stops to learn about the foods in different countries. Some (like guacamole) may be familiar; others (like shlata chizo) may not. At each place, we see photos to learn about four foods popular in this country. We also get a recipe to create a fifth food at home.
Exceptional choice for third graders and up! There are a lot of foods that kids today may be familiar with, but still not know about the history of the food or its ingredients. This is more than just an informational book. Each visit on our global food tour includes a recipe (with pretty common ingredients) and a list of other popular foods you can try at your next dining out!
Mr. and Mrs. Peabody don’t suspect that Maybelle (a cockroach), and her friend Henry (a flea) live quietly under the refrigerator. Maybelle’s dream is to have a meal that’s bigger than crumbs. Mrs. Peabody’s very special dinner is just that meal. Maybelle’s dream is to have a meal that’s bigger than crumbs – and Mrs. Peabody’s very special dinner is just that meal. Dinner turns into mayhem when Maybelle is part of the first course. The adventures continue when the Peabodys, Maybelle, and Henry move to the local hotel while the house is fumigated. Will Maybelle’s life ever be the same?
Lots of action, silly adventures, and two adorable insects make this a fun story for the family to enjoy, and great practice for developing readers. Maybelle’s mishaps are sure to get lots of giggles and “Oh no’s.”
“Johnny” Cakes (a pancake gangster) escaped from prison. His first stop? Pat-a-Cake Bakery … to kidnap Patty herself! While Humpty’s surveying the crime scene, a new rodent arrives on the scene: Rat, a street-wise boy who eats breakfast at the bakery every day. Together, Humpty and Rat vow to save Patty, but they weren’t prepared for what “Johnny” Cakes planned to dish out.
Who knew you could scramble an egg pun so many ways? We heard egg puns for days! Food fights, monster characters, and clever illustrations made for fast, fun reading. The story does an effective job laying out sight gags that boys love to read (and imitate).
More egg-citing ideas:
- The Mystery of Merlin and the Gruesome Ghost (Humpty Dumpty Jr Hardboiled Detective, Book 2)
- What Really Happened to Humpty? [Nursery Rhyme Mysteries series]
Get more delicious book – including chapter books – in our annotated list of
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