As the holidays rapidly approach, I’m sure there will be a slew of new recipes books released just in time for holiday baking, and gift giving. What I’ve noticed recently is something a little different – some of the most famous chefs have been working on children’s books instead. I normally spend more time reading to my daughter, who just turned three last week, than I do reading by myself. While browsing through the children’s section at Barnes and Noble lately I’ve noticed a few familiar names.
Tyler Florence, of Food Network fame, is the author of several recipe books. He also recently has written a couple of children’s books, focusing on a child’s love of food. The main character of these books is of course a little boy named Tyler. Tyler Makes Pancakes! was released in the spring of last year, and the success of that book was followed up this past April with Tyler Makes Spaghetti!. Both books are aimed at the 4-8 age reading group. I consider myself to be relatively well-read in this age group and genre, but I have to say I wasn’t that impressed with these two books. I understand that art is subjective, and that artwork in children’s books can range from what seem like basic illustrations and characters to something incredibly detailed, crafted, and beautiful. I understand that artwork on both ends of this spectrum can be enjoyable, but the main character Tyler is a stick figure, though many of the other characters aren’t. The stories are kind of cute, and if you have a young aspiring chef in your family, these books may be just the thing!
One of my favorite celebrity chefs, Giada de Laurentis, has also been busy lately, working on a children’s series. This series focuses on a love of food, and also includes elements of language and culture. This series, titled Recipe for Adventure, is for the 7-11 age group. These are chapter books, each one featuring a different city. The first two in this series take place in Naples and Paris. I recently finished reading Naples!, which was an adventure undertaken by a brother and sister – in search of a connection to their Italian heritage, and real food, centering on a pizza competition. This book was fun, and will be enjoyed by those who enjoy a good adventure, and pizza!
“Alfie never knew something as simple as making pizza could become such an adventure – not to mention so cutthroat. But as he guessed, if you were going to be competitive about a particular food, pizza might as well be the one. It was, after all, the best food in the whole world.”
Many people are familiar with The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She, too, has written a few recipe books, and now has children’s book author to add to her resume. My daughter and I found Charlie the Ranch Dog at the bookstore and were instantly in love! Charlie is a Bassett Hound. And like most Bassett Hounds, he’s a bit lazy, has droopy ears, and sleeps a majority of the day. Charlie’s “work” on the farm is comedic, as his friend Rosie, a Jack Russell Terrier, does most of the important stuff. Charlie is adorable and lovable, and I just found out there will be more Charlie books to come!
One thing these authors have in common is their love of food. One thing their books have in common is the recipes that are included in the books. I can’t wait to try Zia’s Zeppoles that are featured at the end of Naples!