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Oct 29, 2007 01:01 PM

Children's books about food...


I am doing a project about the culture surrounding food and its representation in children's literature (in the USA and around the world). I am looking for good books to read that would help me with my project. Specifically I am looking for picture books (not necessarily story books) that present food in an interesting/fun/creative way.

Thanks for your help and I'll let you know what I find out.


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  1. Maurice Sendak -- In The Night Kitchen

    Also, input this: 'Potluck: a Feast of Picture Books about Food' in the search of the site for new products, and you'll get a list of twenty five picture books.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dolores

      Sendak's "Little Bear" books include a lovely story about making birthday soup.

      1. re: dolores

        I second In the Night Kitchen. I also had one I loved called Mexicali Soup. Everyone in a big hispanic family wanted the mother to leave something out of the soup, so it ended up being just hot water. Then, of course, everyone changed their minds and wanted her to make the soup the way she always did.

        1. re: dinner belle

          Just found the story part of Mexicali Soup. The book's out of print. Too bad -- great, colorful illustrations. Here's the link:

        1. re: clamscasino

          James and the Giant Peach

          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

          1. re: clamscasino

            Stone Soup!!!! I loved that book. What a great story about being creative in the kitchen and improvising.

            1. re: avena

              Heh -- and here I thought Stone Soup was a warning not to be greedy and miserly, or someone will trick you out of your hoard ;-)

          2. Bread and Jam For Frances

            1. - Blueberries for Sal (absolutely classic)
              - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and the sequel, though I can't recall the name off the top of my head) (I love these drawings - can still see each one in my mind)

              There's a wonderful group of children's board books by Amy Wilson Sanger that I've loved - First Book of Sushi; Hola Jalapeno; Mangia! Mangia!; A Little Bit of Soul Food; Let's Nosh; Yum Yum Dim Sum. The art in these are interesting - love the rhymes - has some "search inside the book" images, if you're curious.

              7 Replies
              1. re: ElsieDee

                Second Blueberries for Sal and Stone Soup. Also all the Alligators All Around stuff by Sendak -- like Chicken Soup with Rice. But most importantly in my childhood, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Love it.

                1. re: ctscorp

                  Chicken Soup With Rice by Sendak is magnificent. Especially for a read-out-loud, and could get kids excited about, um, soup.

                2. re: ElsieDee

                  I adored Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs when I was a kid. I still remember the look of joy on the children's faces when a giant doughnut crushed the school house.

                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                    I LOVED Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs too! I just bought a new copy and I read it to my goddaughter. She absolutely loves it, about as much as I did when I was a kid. I adored the idea of the sky raining doughnuts, a split pea fog, and giant pancakes flattening a house, and rafts of stale bread. I was a chubby kid who LOVED food, so I think I was just fascinated with the idea that somewhere in the world, the sky could rain cheeseburgers and spaghetti.

                    Other books I loved as a kid that figured prominently in my development and in my love for and interest in food include: (I know you are looking for picture books, but here are some of my childhood faves in which food figures prominently):

                    - The Little House on the Prairie series (every book, but especially Little House in the Big Woods for the pig butchering chapter, and Farmer Boy for every gluttonous page, pretty much, and the chapter in the Long Winter in which the train finally comes in and they have Christmas in the spring -- these books really taught me so much at a young age about the connections between food, subsistence, and the seasons, and how fortunate we were to even have food on the table)
                    - What's for Lunch, Charley? (1961)
                    - Amelia Bedelia books (I loved the endings when she would bake a pie and smooth over everyone's anxiety over her misdeeds and mistakes)
                    - There was a Casper the Ghost book I loved in which Casper and a rat make a grilled cheese sandwich. It just tickled me when I was 8 years old.

                    oh...and there are tons more...these are just off the top of my head.

                    1. re: sfkusinera

                      Oh, I adore all of the Amelia Bedelia books, and those are on the picture book/chapter book borderline, I think.

                  2. re: ElsieDee

                    I second Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

                    1. re: ElsieDee

                      Pickles to Pittsburgh is the sequel... :-)