A few days ago I shared five children’s books that are perfect to incorporate fun foods. Today is a continuation of five more delightful books. I’ll post the recipes later this week.
Synopsis: Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother are picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.
Food: We are in the middle of blueberry season so go and purchase a container of this delicious fruit because there is nothing like eating these amazing little berries that are chocked full of healthy vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals.
When our sons were little, I made blueberry pancakes or blueberry muffins for a treat and we munched on them while reading the book. Last year I found a delicious recipe for blueberry pancakes (Martha Stewart, of course). There are many fun recipes that include blueberries, (blueberry cobbler, blueberry jam, blueberry muffins) and if you don’t feel like making something with the blueberries—eat them right out of the bag! Blueberries for Sal is a classic and a MUST-read for children—and add the blueberries for a memorable experience!
Synopsis: Strega Nona — “Grandma Witch” — is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.
Food: This story lends itself to eating a scrumptious pasta dish—spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, fettuccine, etc. Most kids love spaghetti and unless you make the noodles from scratch, it goes together rather quickly. Read the charming story (it was one of our kids favorites) while your pasta pot is boiling away like Big Anthony’s pot. Years ago I took a class to learn how to make lasagna from scratch—including the noodles and béchamel sauce. Although delicious, it was an all-day extravaganza.
Keep in mind that all of the Strega Nona books are delightful and incorporate the use of food or potions—use your creativity and make a fun pasta dish or something from scratch (without the use of magic) while reading this book. Another favorite is: Strega Nona’s Christmas
Synopsis: Only five lucky children will be allowed inside Mr. Willy Wonka’s famous candy factory and they must have a golden ticket that can be found inside five chocolate bars. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
Food: Well, you can thank technology, because you can now make your own special chocolate bar labels that will mimic the chocolate bars found in this buyer-beware story! This D.I.Y. project requires you to purchase some Hershey’s chocolate bars; carefully remove the label and then make your own label from several different label programs online. Here is one I found on Pinterest. It is for a Willy Wonka bar and it’s free: http://life-in-texas.com/2012/08/thing-1-party-planning-part-1.html Assemble several of these bars AND a golden ticket inside some of them. Then create a game where your children have to “purchase” a Wonka bar and try to “win” one of the golden tickets. Certainly the book is memorable on its own, but adding this fun game takes it to new heights!
Synopsis: After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!
Food: This is one of the greatest children’s books ever written! It is amazing on so many levels and has many of the same trappings as a fairytale with the hero, James having to overcome great obstacles to finally reach his heart’s desire. Of course, because this is about an enormous peach—I loved getting fresh peaches for the boys to eat while we read it—the juiciest and the freshest peaches, and you can only find them during the summer months. But, if you can’t find fresh peaches, try peach ice cream or peach jam or even canned peaches (not a great choice, but better than no peaches at all!).
Recipe: Peach Cobbler. I love peach cobbler—there is nothing quite like it and if you can find some blueberries to add to it—delicious! This recipe is to die for—enjoy!
Synopsis:Gregory isn’t like most goats. Instead of indulging in delicacies like old shoes, boxes, and bottle caps, he prefers to eat fruits, vegetables, eggs, and fish. Mother Goat and Father Goat are disgusted, and after several attempts to get Gregory to eat like a proper goat, they finally take him to see Dr. Ram. But when Gregory finally develops a taste for flat tires and broken violins, he’s not just eating like a goat—he’s eating like a pig! Will Gregory be able to find a healthy balance before he eats everything in the house?
Food: In the beginning of this book, Gregory is a pretty amazing example to children of eating good food. Instead of eating sweets, sodas and French fries, he indulges in fruits, vegetables, eggs and fish. Then he starts eating like a piggy goat and the story changes a bit. However, it was still a favorite in our family and we all enjoyed the funny antics of Gregory. This is one of those books where anything healthy should be tried—especially vegetables.
Recipe: Use one of your family’s favorite recipes here–and let your kids know the history behind the recipe and why it is so special!
Again—these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg—get your creative juices working and come up with more ideas of your own, unique to your family and your traditions!