Books on Food and Cooking

Eating is a necessary part of our day. Some kids love to eat and others could care less, wanting to run around and play for one more minute. What follows are books to help your child understand good eating habits, table manners, different types of food and even the cooking process. With lots of laughs, this booklist is simply scrumptious. Here is the pdf of it.

Table Manners

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

True to the “How Do Dinosaurs” series fashion, Jane Yolen and Mark Teague set up kids to understand in a humorous way why certain behaviors at the table are inappropriate. After a series of questions on how should dinosaurs behave, Yolen answers that no, they don’t act that way but do act another way, modeling proper table manners.

Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley

A mouse intrudes in a family’s kitchen while they are all asleep. He has a ruckus of a time nibbling and playing with the food. Before the family can spy the mess, the mouse quietly walks away to bed. Use this book to discuss how the family must feel to encounter the mess first thing in the morning.

Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Minnema and illustrated by Wesley Ballinger

Although not strictly about table manners, Hungry Johnny is about an Obijwe boy who learns the rules about eating with a vast group of people. Johnny is very hungry, but he has to wait for prayers and then for older people to get their food. It is very difficult for him! But he perserves thanks to his grandma.

Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise by Leo Landry

Peas have never been more entertaining than through the eyes of this toddler. Ivy Louise loves watching her peas act out circus routines. A simple, amusing take on why playing with food is more fun than eating it.

Don’t Play With Your Food by Bob Shea

Buddy is a monster who has a taste for bunnies. The bunnies secretly know that and find many ways to divert Buddy’s attention from eating them. In the end, the bunnies remind Buddy that you aren’t supposed to play with your food and he realizes he has been duped. A fun way to discuss food is food, not play…unless you are doing a sensory activity that is.

Picky Eating vs Healthy Eating

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban

A classic story about one badger who gets too much of her favorite food and learns her lesson of picky eating. Frances loves bread and jam, but after having nothing but bread and jam for a number of meals, she yearns for variety.

From Gregory, the Terrible Eater

Gregory, the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat and illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

Gregory is a goat with an eating problem: he only wants to eat healthy human food, like milk, fruits, and vegetables. His parents are worried. They seek out a doctor. He tells them to slyly insert goat friendly food in with Gregory’s chosen regular fodder. After a terrible tummy ache, Gregory eventually learns to like goat food…mixed in with human food that is. This book was a personal favorite growing up.

Gazpacho for Nacho by Tracey C. Kyle and illustrated by Carolina Farias

Oh, Nacho has a deep love for gazpacho. But his mom doesn’t love having to make it as his only meal. She wises up and teaches Nacho how to make gazpacho. After getting a taste for cooking, Nacho decides to try other dishes. Spanish words are used throughout the rhyming text.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Who doesn’t know about this very hungry caterpillar? Use this popular book to talk about eating choices. The caterpillar gets a bad tummy ache after eating a litany of “junk” food. Only after eating a green leaf, you know vegetables, does he feel better and can go onward to becoming a butterfly.

Pete Won’t Eat by Emily McCully

Pete the pig can’t go out to play until he eats his green slop. He refuses to eat it and his mama pig refuses to relent…until the very end. But by then, Pete has eaten the slop and gone off to play. McCully does a great job building suspense in this book from the “I Like To Read” series. It has simple words that a beginning reader could read and yet you feel the real dilemma for the mama pig and sympathize for Pete.

Peanut Butter and Brains by Joe McGee and illustrated by Charles Santoso

If your child likes the undead, then he’ll get the irony. Reginald is a zombie, but instead of brains, he loves himself some PB&J. Every time he wants to get one, people freak out and run away from him. Eventually all of the other zombies discover the pleasure of PB&J. Then Reginald begins to get a hankering for none other than…pizza!

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marlee Frazee

Don’t complain about your picky eater. This mother has seven picky eaters. Each one wants to eat one particular food item only. The mother eventually becomes beyond annoyed about having to accommodate each one’s preferences. On her birthday, all of the kids decide to make her a birthday cake. It turns out to be a semi-disaster, but an answer to the mother’s problem.

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann

A silly story about a girl who loves pink cupcakes. She won’t listen when her parents tell her to quit eating them and turns pink. After a traumatizing experience being mistaken for a flower, Pinkalicious decides to go along with the doctor’s order. But she longs for just one more pink cupcake…then bam! She turns red. Then she knows she can’t eat anymore pink cupcakes, but green food to turn back to herself. A great book to discuss the consequences of a single food diet (of course, in a humorous, unrealistic way!).

Food in general

Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen

Benny the Woodpecker wants a waffle. He tries many ways to enter a diner and order some but to no avail. He devises a sneaky plan but he requires all of his forest friends to help him. However, they have no idea what the real plan is all along and both Benny’s friends and the people of the diner get completely duped.

The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott

The Lady with the Alligator Purse is a great rhyme (or song; you can sing it) about a poor boy who keeps eating things. The doctor and the nurse give all sorts of recommendations; the lady with the alligator purse knows the truth: the poor boy is hungry! So she brings out pizza to sate him.

Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky and illustrated by Susan Swan

A family goes to their local market during the summer to buy some goods. This book is a counting book and includes other things you can purchase at an outdoor market, like flowers. A perfect book to introduce seasonal summer foods.

Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! America’s Sproutings by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Half-poetic and half-informative, Mora shows the reader 14 fruits and vegetables that are indigenous to the Americas. If you are sharing this book with younger ones, you can just share the haikus and gaze at the beautiful illustrations. But if you have some older ones with you, you can read more about the actual fruits and vegetables; Mora wrote a little information on each one.

Fruits: A Caribbean Counting Poem by Valerie Bloom and David Axtel

Fruits is a beautiful introduction to Caribbean fruits. Join two sisters as they gather different fruits, counting up from one to ten. Although it is written in Caribbean dialect making it hard to read smoothly the first time, after a few read-throughs you should be able to pick up the accent.

One is a Feast for Mouse by Judy Cox and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

With the leftovers of a Thanksgiving meal still on the table, Mouse spies one green pea and goes to get it. Then he sees other foods he’d like as well, eventually making himself a precarious tower of food. A cat surprises Mouse by trying to pounce on him. Mouse has no choice but to scatter his food. The cat’s owner thinks he is to blame for the mess. Mouse goes to his corner and needs up with only that one pea for his feast.


From Feast for Ten

Baking Day at Grandma’s by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise

“It’s baking day at grandma’s!” three excited cubs exclaim repeatedly throughout this book. They are happy to be baking at grandma’s. It’s no wonder with the warmth in the rhyme and the pictures. The baking day takes place in winter and some of the cookies become gifts, making this a great book to read during the winter holidays.

Albuquerque Turkey by B. G. Ford and illustrated by Lucinda McQueen

A nice read for the Thanksgiving holiday. A rancher is prepping the Thanksgiving meal with his turkey. Will he actually eat his turkey? The ending is a pleasant surprise! You can sing this book to the tune of “Clementine.”

Walter the Baker by Eric Carle

A cleverly “concocted” story about the origins of the pretzel. Walter is the best baker in Duchy. Each morning, the Duke and Duchess require his sweet rolls for breakfast. One morning, he had to use water to make the sweet rolls because his cat spilt the milk. The Duke and Duchess noticed the change and complained. In order for Walter to stay in Duchy he had to make a new bread that can bring the sun through three times. He succeeds at the last minute and created the pretzel.

Cook-a-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens and illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel

Rooster is sick of the same old chicken feed. Remembering the tale of The Little Red Hen, he decides to cook a strawberry shortcake. With the help of some rather odd friends, they work through the recipe. Full of irony and with side notes that actually explain about the steps and ingredients, it’s a darling tale.

Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig

Pete is bored. He can’t play outside. So his father (who looks old enough to be his grandpop) suggests they make pizza. The catch is–Pete will be the pizza! He goes through the steps of making a real pizza, using Pete to playfully pretend making a real pizza. Sure to elicit laughs as well as a perfect vehicle to introduce the steps in making a favorite food.

Feast for Ten by Cathryn Falwell

In this rhyming counting book, a mom with 5 kids in tow conquers the grocery store, goes home and prepares a meal for 10 family members, and enjoy eating it all together. A sweet story featuring a large, happy family.

Mr. Cookie Baker by Moncia Wellington

In Mr. Cookie Baker, a baker walks us through the simple steps in baking cookies. At the end, children flood his store to get their own. The pictures are bright and inviting, with lots to view. A wonderful book to share one-on-one or with a rowdy group.

What are your favorite food books to share with little ones?

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