Sweets, treats and feasts for my bookgroup

posted in: Books in the community | 7

This month’s session with my bookgroup for 8-12 year olds was all about “Sweets, treats and feasts”. Here are the activities that were planned:

1. Looking at cookery books, both for adults and children, and each finding a recipe we liked the sound of to photocopy and take home.

Cookery books included:

  • Christmas foods by Jenny Vaughan and Penny Beauchamp
  • Heart on a plate by Emma Marsden
  • Cherry cake and ginger beer by Jane Brocket
  • Sweets and treats to give away by Diana & Rebecca Peacock
  • The vintage sweets book by Angel Adoree
  • Primrose Bakery Christmas by Martha Swift
  • 30 Christmas things to cook and eat by Rebecca Gilpin
  • Scone with the wind : cakes & bakes with a literary twist by Miss Victoria Sponge [sic!]
  • Roald Dahl’s completely revolting recipes, illustrated by Quentin Blake

  • Cherry cake and Ginger beer is particularly worth pointing out as the focus of this cookery book are foods which feature in many children’s classics such as the Enid Blyton books, the Pippi Longstocking books and ‘What Katy Did’.

    In a related vein, Scone with the wind features 72 literary inspired recipes, arranged by genre though this book’s primary focus is adult literature. If you’re ever after even more literary themed cookbooks, Goodreads has a list (thanks to @chaletfan for alerting me to this). One of the books on this list I would have liked to have included in my session is Fairy Tale Feasts by Jane Yolen but unfortunately it’s not easily available in the UK.

    2. Finding a poem about food we liked and reading it to each other. The anthologies I had ready included:

  • Scrumdiddly compiled by Jennifer Curry, illustrated by Susie Jenkin-Pearce
  • Food rhymes compiled by John Foster, illustrated by Carol Thompson
  • The sun is a cupcake and other poems about food compiled by Brian Moses, with artwork by Kelly Waldek
  • Sling a jammy doughnut compiled by Joan Poulson, illustrated by Kelly Waldek
  • Lunch boxes don’t fly by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Korky Paul

  • foodpoetry

    Just for fun, here are two videos of poets reading poems about food:

    Joseph Coelho – Halloween's crumble from CLPE on Vimeo.

    3. Playing match the food with the book. Samples of food and books which include said foodstuffs were to be laid out on the table. By reading the blurb, and taking a look through the books (as well as using their general knowledge about any of the books they had already read) the kids were to be encouraged to match the food to the book using this handy printout:


    Just in case you need some help matching the yummy things with the books here’s the key:

    Turkish Delight – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
    Marmalade – The Paddington Bear stories by Michael Bond
    Marzipan – The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
    Caramel wafers – The Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon
    Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
    Peaches – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
    Honey – the Winnie the Pooh stories by A. A. Milne
    A lollipop – The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
    Smarties – The Tracy Beaker books by Jacqueline Wilson
    Vicious Viennese Whirls – Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
    Mints – The Lockwood and Co stories by Jonathan Stroud
    Pink wafers – Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog by Claire Barker and Ross Collins
    Broccoli – The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce (What, you don’t think broccoli is a treat?!
    Bourbon Biscuits – Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
    Chocolate Creams – Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White
    Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (I printed this wrapper to go around a chocolate bar)
    Iced buns – The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

    If you wish to use the printout, you can download it here (pdf).

    After completing the matching, the sweets and treates were to be “raffled off” to the kids – by pulling raffle tickets out of a box (no money exchanging hands), and taking home whatever sweet treat(s) matched their number. Yes, including the broccoli…..


    4. Writing our own “ideal feast” in a circle, each adding words/phrases as went around, aiming to be descriptive and bold.

    Very sadly for me, for the first time ever, no-one turned up to the book group (a drop in session) :-(. But all the treats were donated to the local foodback, and at least all the planning hasn’t gone to waste as I’m able to share it here with you!

    For a completely different take on theming a children’s book group around chocolate and sweets, do take a look at this free Chatterbooks Activity Pack on the theme.

    For your own delight and delectation, I heartily encourage you to check out The Little Library Cafe and The Piebrary both of whom regularly post book-inspired recipes on their blogs.

    Lots of book friends helped me gather ideas for this session. Thanks go to each and every one of you, especially friends on twitter and in the Reading for Pleasure in Schools Facebook group. Additional food suggestions, which I didn’t make use of for my bookgroup but which might be useful for you, include:

    Strawberry creams – Jane Elson’s A Room Full of Chocolate
    Gobstopper – Boy by Roald Dahl
    Scones – The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
    Raisins – Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
    Doughnuts – Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
    Boiled Eggs – Five Go Off in a Caravan by Enid Blyton
    Aniseed Balls – Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley
    Gingerbread biscuits – The Pippi Longstocking stories by Astrid Lindgren

    7 Responses

    1. Sophie

      Do you know “le géant de zeralda” by tomi ungerer ? It’s about how a good meal can turn a monster into a lovely man. It’s always a pleasure to read it.

      • Zoe

        Yes Catherine, it was a shame, but I knew it was bound to happen some time. And the prep’s all done for another time, so nothing’s wasted!
        Zoe recently posted..Stína

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