Fantastic Fiction for Kids – Baking

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This week’s contribution to Fantastic Fiction for Kids comes from Sarah who writes a wonderful blog called In Need of Chocolate. Sarah writes frequently about the books she and her two daughters are enjoying together, with a good dose of craftiness, some homeschooling and a smattering of the highs and lows of parenthood – a great mix which is always worth reading. Do make sure you pop on over and say hello to her!

Sarah’s chosen topic this week – baking – is a very timely one; I’m sure many of us have been busy in the kitchen in the last few weeks and days. Sarah’s books sound delicious and I’m certainly now on the look out for all of them! It might be a good idea to make sure you’re not feeling hungry before you start reading Sarah’s suggestions… which are:

mr_cookie_baker_frontcoverMr. Cookie Baker by Monica Wellington

This has been a favorite of ours since my older daughter was two. We love Monica Wellington’s bright, happy illustrations. This simple story of a baker and his wife opening their store for the day and selling beautifully decorated cookies is perfect for preschoolers and still loved by my now 6 year old. The book includes a recipe for Mr Baker’s sugar cookies. Making your own sugar cookies and decorating them would be the perfect activity to go along with this book. As would pulling up a You Tube video, like this one, of Cookie Monster singing C is for Cookie:

pizza_at._sallys_frontcoverjpgPizza at Sally’s by Monica Wellington

We love pizza and Monica Wellington books so we got a copy of this one as soon as it was released. The reader sees Sally harvest tomatoes and buy cheese for her pizzas before opening her shop and getting ready for the day. She and her cat make pizzas and enjoy serving them to their customers. A recipe for pizza dough and sauce is included. A great activity to go along with this book would be making pizza dough, talking about how yeast works to make the dough rise and then letting children make individual pizzas with the dough, decorated with their favorite toppings. We had fun doing this at M’s 6th birthday party.

fannie_in_the_kitchen_frontcoverFannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkins, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This book is a fictionalized, humorous account of Fannie Farmer’s early days as a mother’s helper. Fannie eventually went to Boston Cooking School and wrote the Fannie Farmer cookbook, famous for emphasizing precise measurements. Fannie helps Marcia, the daughter of her employer learn to cook and Marcia encourages her to write her recipes down. A recipe for pancakes is included in the book and it has become our favorite, never-fail pancake recipe. M can almost whip it up on her own. We love watching Marcia open up to Fannie as they work together in the kitchen. A good activity to go along with this book would be making pancakes together. You could even make fun shapes or add toppings like blueberries, bananas, or chocolate chips.

thunder_cake_frontcoverThunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

A girl’s grandmother helps her overcome her fear of thunder by eliciting her help in gathering the ingredients for a thunder cake. The ingredients must be gathered as the storm approaches and the cake put in the oven before the storm is overhead. The girl forgets her fear as she works quickly to get the cake made. We all love the idea of chasing away fear by making a cake. Cake makes everyone feel better πŸ™‚ The book includes a recipe for thunder cake which has an unexpected “secret” ingredient: pureed tomatoes. Making a cake together on a rainy or stormy day would be a perfect accompaniment to this book.

how_mama_bought_the_spring_frontcoverHow Mama Brought the Spring by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Holly Berry.

Rosie refuses to get out of bed on a cold winter day until her mother begins to tell how her own mother brought spring to snow-covered Minsk by making blintzes, crepe-like pancakes with cream cheese filling. Rosie and her mom make their own blintzes to warm up their cold home, and a recipe for blintzes in included. We all love the art work in this beautiful book and we love the way the mom shares a favorite story from her childhood. The story and the time working side by side with her mom warm Rosie as much as the sunny blintzes. We also love the idea of bringing spring to our home with delicious food. As an activity to go along with this book, you could make blintzes or another food that makes you feel warm and cozy or reminds you of spring.

Now I (Zoe) love having great music on whilst I’m in the kitchen baking or cooking or nibbling and here’s some fun stuff that could go well with Sarah’s recommendations:

  • Cooking breakfast for the ones I love by Maria Muldaur
  • Biscuit baking woman by Yank Rachell
  • If I knew you were coming I’d’ve baked a cake, sung here by Gracie Fields
  • All together singing in the kitchen by The Nields
  • I want a big fat cookie for Christmas by Candyband
  • Photo: Yomi955
    Photo: Yomi955

    And as to activities, well as Sarah has suggested there are endless possibilities for getting kids involved in the kitchen, but if you want more crafty baking related activities you could try out these:

  • There are loads of felt food tutorials out there and a very useful round up can be found at One Crafty Place
  • I’m dying to make these edible crayons from Gourmet Mom on-the-Go
  • Printing with vegetables from WhipUp
  • A post about books, baking and kids wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a wonderful blog I enjoy called Sweet Reads – Books and Baking for Kids. There are loads of great posts but I laughed a lot when I read the post, The London Eye Mystery.

    So just two things left to say today – First, a very big *thank you* to Sarah at In Need of Chocolate for this week’s book selection, and second, I hope you all have a wonderful few days with family over the holiday period! Now it’s over to you… what are your favourite kids’ books with a baking/cooking theme, and what are your favourite recipes for making with the kids?

    6 Responses

    1. Sarah N.

      Thanks for inviting me to be part of Fantastic Fiction for Kids, Zoe! I had fun coming up with this list. If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked A Cake is one of our favorite songs πŸ™‚

    2. Zoe

      I should have included in the post our favourite baking book – Eddie’s Kitchen by Sarah Garland ( – the story is great fun, especially as it’s the kids who save the day, and the illustrations are gorgeous. We also like Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper ( – not strictly baking, but nevertheless a great cooking story and superb illustrations.

    3. Rawley

      Wow–so many great reads and recipes! I especially love pulling out THUNDERCAKE during a rainy school day! I’m diggin’ this post and this fabulous blog!

    4. vanessa@silly eagle books

      Juliet is mad about baking books–she makes me read them over and over again! πŸ™‚ Right now she loves Sheldon’s Lunch by Bruce Lemerise. It’s about a snake who bakes blueberry pancakes with his friends. We read it at least once every day.

      A friend of mine told me about Thunder Cake and I have yet to find it–your post just reminded me of it again!

      Another great list of books for me to search for–thanks again for coming up with this idea.

    5. sunnymama

      What an awesome list! Sunnyboy is very interested in all things cooking and baking so I am definitely bookmarking list to come back to. The books look good and I love the suggestions for kitchen music and activities. The edible crayons look great.

      Thanks for stopping by at my blog yesterday and your lovely comments. I’m very pleased to have found your blog too now. πŸ™‚

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