January 20, 2009

My favorite children's books with food

As our move north draws closer, I'm trying to start sorting and getting ready-- unsuccessfully so far. I donated a lot of our adult books a few years back in a fit of cleaning, I'm not a big rereader. However, our children's book stash is ever growing and much harder to part with. There could someday be another child, and hopefully someday grandchildren!! When I read a post on The Greasy Skillet listing their Top 5 Children's Books that Play with Food it got me thinking about our children's book collection and how many of our children's books deal with food. Both my husband's favorite children's book and my own are food related. I wanted to come up with a master list from our bookshelves and here it is. Please add more favorites in the comments.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a favorite from my husband's childhood about the wild land of ChewandSwallow where food falls from the sky. We have the copy from when he was a kid but had to buy a second copy because this got read so often.

The Giant Jam Sandwich, a favorite from my childhood about a town plagued by wasps and the townpeople's solution to the problem. We have my original copy of this too.

In the Night Kitchen, fussed over for it's "scandalous" little boy parts this is a great book about a little boy's surreal dream.

Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup, for those whose grannies were from the old country.

The Popcorn Book, I loved Tomi DePaola as a kid! This is out of print but we have an original copy from my childhood.

The Pooh Cookbook, my son Alex wasn't interested in the Pooh stories but I poured over these recipes as a child. Hint: There's lots of honey.

Green Eggs and Ham, probably the most popular pick, who hasn't read this?

The Story of Cherry the Pig, a cute story from Japan about a baking pig who doubts herself.

Chicken Soup with Rice, a great rhyming book to sing to little ones that teaches the months. Also see the video at the end of the post.

Pickle Chiffon Pie, a charming fairytale about true princes and crazy sounding pie.

Nate the Great and the Monster Mess, the Nate the Great series is full of wonderful short chapter books and I like any book with recipes for cookies in it.

Peter Rabbit's Giant Storybook, Peter makes vegetables sound extra tasty. This big storybook got a lot of use.

Babar Learns to Cook, I had a lot of Babar books. This one has the little elephants making a mess in the kitchen and made me crave cucumber soup as a kid.

Curious George Makes Pancakes, we like it when Curious George makes good trouble.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, we prefer Knuffle Bunny and Today I Will Fly! by Mo Willems but this is his book that deals with food. It's fun to do Pigeon's voice.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, I'm not a big fan of the sequels to this book but the first is a fun story about the escalating wishes of a hungry mouse.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a classic counting book.

The Gingerbread Man, the taunting cookie meets his inevitable end.

The Little Red Hen, an industrious chicken with unhelpful friends makes a loaf of bread the Martha Stewart way.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?, gorgeous illustrations and a big hit with the dinosaur lovers.

How are you peeling? and Food for thought, real fruits and vegetables anthropomorphized. You'll never look at the ends of bell peppers the same again.

Fanny at Chez Panisse, the story of Alice Waters' daughter in the famous kitchen of Chez Panisse, with recipes. I think you might need a little girl to appreciate this one.

*Thanks to muddywaters of The Greasy Skillet from Kansas for the inspirational post, The Greasy Five: Children's Books that Play with Food. Go there to see four other books.

**The concocting kid drawing on the top was done by my husband. When I met him he was illustrating a children's book called Poppyseed Bread which sadly never was published. He did have illustrations published in one children's book before he moved on to making PC games. You can find his drawings in the book I Wanna Iguana.

***Update:  I found a great forum thread on Chowhound recently that has a whole bunch that I missed or didn't know about.  Check out the thread, Children's Books that Feature Food.  

****Update #2: For some more unique and nearly lost treasures, check out this Storybook Neverland at Rook No. 17

"Chicken Soup with Rice" sung by Carole King from 1975's Really Rosie cartoon.
I had this on cassette and played it all the time as a kid.


elly said...

These are some great picks! I would definitely like to add one of my more recent favorite kids' books, that happens to be food related, too. It's The Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Elra said...

Wow this is great. Now I can start buying this book for my nephew, since they both are very enthusiastic in the kitchen.

Ning said...

My kids have graduated from children's books to young adult books. But I still remember these books, specially the Hungry Caterpillar, Peter Rabbit, Babar, Pooh and Green Eggs and Ham :) Thanks for the memories :)

Andrew's Mom said...

Pickles over Pittsburgh (sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) - love that one too!

Marija said...

Thank you for this! Wonderful post!

Jess said...

ha ha ha I remember that! Sip it once, sip it twice, sippin chicken soup with rice...

Daily Spud said...

We had an old book of childrens fairytales which our Dad would read to us as kids. I'm not even sure of the name of the book and it's certainly long out of print, but I do vividly recall that our all-time favourite story from it was one called "The Thin Cook" (also known as Boney Bart), who came to a rather unfortunate end involving a mincer due to his all-too-thin frame - a bit more Roald Dahl then Dr. Seuss I guess!

shellyfish said...

Great post, Maggie! I've noted some of these titles - I try to get as many books in English as I can for Guppy to keep her bi-lingual! The little red hen, green eggs, give a mouse a cookie...some of our favourites - I need to check out that dino book, though!

joanna said...

One of my very favorite children's books of all time is "Bread and Jam for Frances", REALLY gets into the food. It describes with great detail the lunch that her friend Albert brings to school and eats at his desk: the thermos of hot tomato soup, the hard boiled egg, and the little cardboard shaker of salt. It really left an impression on me (clearly, as I can still remember the cardboard salt shaker 30+ years later!)

☾ Ash ♡ said...

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs is one of my favorite Children's books! I remember buying it for my son and reading it to him long before he could read, and reading it myself when I was little! Chicken soup with Rice is also a favorite.. I remember them doing the song on Sesame street when i was a kid :)

Mae Travels said...

A couple of great children's cookbooks are "Pretend Soup" and "Salad People" both by Molly Katzen. Mrs. Pigglewiggle dealt with various eating issues in her droll way, too.

A.B. said...

I used to go crazy over this song when I was a kid. I specifically remember that I kept bugging my mom to make chicken soup with rice and when she finally did, I hated it. I remember thinking, "This is it??!" I guess Really Rosie just made it look much more exotic.... :) Thanks for the crazy flashback!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You forgot Harold and the Purple Crayon - all that PIE! ;-)

I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Chicken Soup with Rice IS very nice.

Still Life in South America said...

Chicken Once...

Chicken Twice...

Eatin' Chicken Soup with Rice!

We used to sing that in grade school. So cute.

TavoLini said...

Great list!! I completely agree with you on the, "Give a mouse a cookie" books.

Tomie dePaola was a favorite of mine, too :)

Chic Cookies said...

Thanks for sharing this list! (As a foodie/children's book lover, much appreciated). I posted a link to your entry on my edible crafts column at craftgossip.com at: ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com.
thanks!! meaghan

Maggie said...

elly: Thanks, I've never seen that one!

Elra: I hope your nephew enjoys them.

Ning: You're welcome!

Andrew's Mom: I have to get that one!

Marija: Thanks for coming by.

Jess: It's a great song.

Daily Spud: Interesting, it sounds like Der Struwwelpeter, which is a German children's book that has a boy who won't eat his soup starve to death. It's not for everyone but we like it.

shellyfish: You're welcome!

joanna: I do remember Frances fondly! It makes me remember that I forgot Paddington and his marmalade sandwiches too.

☾ Ash ♡: They're both great books.

Mae Travelsl: I have to look for the Katzen books. Thanks for adding them here.

A.B.: It's too bad the soup didn't live up to your expectations.

Jn of A2eatwrite: I know I read Harold as a kid but it's one we've missed getting for Alex. Thanks for the recommendation!

Still Life in South America: Watch out, it'll get stuck in your head all day!

TavoLini: Yeah the sequels just got loopy.

Chic Cookies: Thanks for the link!

Chef E said...

I love this, I am a writer as well, and have written a few children books...too cool!

lifeinrecipes said...

Another food-related favorite of my daughter's was Rosemary Wells Yoko (Yoko and Friends-School Days), which begins with the line, "What would you like for lunch today, my little cherry blossom?").

Rachel said...

What a wonderful post. So many favorites from when I and my kids were little. I agree with Joanna that "Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russell Hoban is a winner. The little badger learns to love a more varied diet after seeing her friend Albert chow down on all sorts of cool lunches.

I would add "Eating the Alphabet", a picture book by Lois Ehlert, which has great watercolor collages of all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

muddywaters said...

Great post. I appreciate your reading recommendations, and I look forward to introducing my daughter to some of these books. I'll let you know how what kind of reception these books get.

I also enjoyed the readers' comments.

I try to visit your site about once a week or so, and I always find something that I can use. Thanks for taking the time to post.


The Other Tiger said...

I love the Pigeon books!

Maris said...

Cute list! Don't forget Strega Nona :)

Maggie said...

Here's an interesting book I have to get: Loaves of Fun

SpookyMama said...

I love "Blueberries for Sal" but it's old and hard to find also i saw that they've made a movie out of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs", but it kinda looks like they hacked it up :(

Books for Walls said...

also by Tomie dePaola

Jamie o'Rourke and the Big Potato
Pasqual and the Kitchen Angels
Guess Who's Coming to Santa's for Dinner

Toot and Puddle (the Original) by Holly Hobbie we love in Toot in the pastry shop in Italy and Puddle with the chef's hat cooking!

George and Martha (the Original) she makes split pea soup, he puts it in his shoes --she gives him chocolate chip cookies instead!

We will definitely have a food in books challenge in the next couple of months!! There is so much inspiration!!

Jenn Erickson said...

What a fabulous list!!!!

In my kitchen I've displayed some of my favorite books from childhood that have something to do with baking. Some of the titles in my collection are "Mr. Snitzel's Cookies" and "Pantaloon". The one I'm hoping to stumble upon some day at a thrift shop or yard sale is "The Sugar Mouse Cake" by Gene Zion.

I recently wrote a post about sharing memories of our favorite children's books, and, if you're interested, I'd be honored to have you link your post to my "Storybook Neverland" gallery (no strings attached).

Jenn/Rook No. 17

shellyann said...

this is greeat. i remember some of the books you have listed. was wonderring if you could help me remember another. im thinking it was called the strangers bread, i can only remember that the book had a pic of a scraggly lil boy on it with a dog. the stories is about a lil boy who goes to deliver a loaf of bread to a customer but on the way gives a lil bit to different animal . at least thats what i remember sense i was so young.

Carl's Odyssey said...

Wow, very thorough list! I knew about most of them, but some snuck past me somehow. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is probably my favorite out of the list. So good, in fact, that it inspired me to write a kid's book about food too!

It's called Carl's Odyssey and it's a series of kid's picture books about a little bulb of garlic who's lost in the grocery store and goes on an epic journey to get back home.

www.CarlsOdyssey.com for details!