Just like the majority of food lovers, our enjoyment of all things yummy isn’t restricted to just eating. We also like to smell food, touch food, look at food, talk about food, Heck, we even like to READ about food!
Which is precisely why when we heard Children’s Book Week (31 Oct – 4 Nov) was coming up, we just KNEW we had to share our favourite foodie fables. So, with no further ado, here’s our …
Top 11 Yummy, Scrummy, Going-In-The-Brain-But-Feeling-It-In-The-Tummy Books!
(yes we know it’s usually a top 10, but as with all things delicious, we thought an extra one wouldn’t hurt!)
11. Can I Eat That?, Joshua David Stein (2016)
New for 2016, this foodie fact book, written by a culinary critic, focuses on the humorous, practical and playful aspects of food. Can you eat a sea urchin? If there’s bacON why is there not bacOFF? If fish don’t have hands, how come there's such a thing as Fish Fingers?
Also introducing different international cuisines, this bright and snappy book is a great introduction to the randomness of food and how we name and eat it!
10. Green Eggs and Ham, Dr Seuss (1960)
Totally random and, according to Publisher’s Weekly in 2011, the fourth best-selling English language book of all time, Green Eggs and Ham uses just 50 words to tell the story of an unnamed character who is pestered to try the colourful and unusual dish.
Repeated over and over, the tale takes on a melodic quality that has made it a firm favourite with both children and adults (surveys of favourite children’s books place it highly with children, and even higher with teachers!).
9. Hansel and Gretel, Brothers Grimm (1812)
It takes a pretty dark wit to turn a story involving a house made of cake and sweets (the dream!) into something so sinister. But Brothers Grimm are renowned for their haunting fairytales.
When siblings Hansel and Gretel are abandoned in the woods by their father and stepmother, they come across a gingerbread house in a beautiful clearing. Hungry and tired, of course they enter, but the evil witch who resides within also has food on her mind. And she has a taste for children …
Dark and not-so delicious, Hansel and Gretel has food as a theme every step of the way. Although perhaps better suited to older children!
8. The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story, Lemony Snicket (2007)
It’s Hannukah, and an unfortunate Latke (that’s a fried potato pancake) is about to be cooked in a hot frying pan. He manages to escape and soon runs into various Christmas symbols, who have never heard of Hannukah before.
The tale follows the Latke’s futile efforts to try and educate other characters on the history and culture surrounding the Jewish holiday, as well as his own place within it. Surreal, funny and a little bit sad too, this book presents food as a way to discover different cultures and how sometimes, what we choose to eat is about much more than just our personal tastes. It’s about our culture, upbringing and social history too.
7. The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Judith Kerr (1968)
When considering food, we don’t just have to think about what WE like to eat, but also what our friends, family and guests like to eat too. After all, food is for sharing, right? The Tiger Who Came To Tea is a delightful book that poses a bit of a moral quandary: what do you do if your guest wants to eat … EVERYTHING?
We especially love this book for using food as a common denominator and a way to relate to others. If a tiger really turned up at your house you’d probably be very scared, but if he politely sat down and requested some tea then perhaps you’d be able to get on after all! It’s the sharing of food that makes this tiger ‘safe’.
6. Bread and Jam for Frances, Russell and Lillian Hoban (1964)
Frances is a fussy little badger, and claims that all she ever wants to eat for the rest of her life is bread and jam. Breakfast: bread and jam. Lunchtime: bread and jam. Snacktime? Bread and jam. Dinner time, surely not … bread and jam!
This illustrated book follows Frances’ demands and Mother Badger’s ingenious answer to it. It’s every child’s dream to be able to eat what they want whenever they want … isn’t it?!
5. Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear!
We couldn’t rightly leave two of our favourite bears out of the list could we?! Admittedly, their respective adventures are not purely food-focussed, but we had to include them here due to their respective food loves.
Winnie the Pooh loves honey. Paddington Bear loves Marmalade sandwiches. And that is the undeniable, unchangeable, indisputable truth. No matter the journey they are on, their favourite snacks always have a place alongside them. When sad, these foods are a comfort. When happy, they are a celebration. When just sitting at home doing nothing … well … they’re just tasty. And who can blame them for that?
4. I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, Lauren Child (2000)
The first ever Charlie and Lola picture book, this brilliant short story makes us smile every time. There are some things we just DO NOT like to eat. Then there are even more things we THINK we DO NOT like to eat. Or maybe we just don’t like the colour. Or the name. Or the plate it’s on?
Tackling the frustrating issue of fussy eating, this illustrated tale follows Lola’s various culinary dislikes, and how presenting them in a different way (did you know that peas are really just green drops from Greenland?!) can make all the difference.
3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Judy and Ron Barrett (1978)
If you live in a town called Chewandswallow, it’s pretty likely something interesting is going to happen. And lo and behold, in this book it does! An extremely unusual meteorological pattern means that all residents of this funnily-named town receive their three daily meals when the food rains down on them!
Sure, it saves you a trip to the local supermarket, but as you can imagine things can get pretty messy with meatball suppers hurtling down from the sky! And even worse than that, when storms come they bring total destruction with them. Will the residents be able to come up with a solution?
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle (1969)
We all know what it feels like on a Sunday morning, when you finally emerge from your cocoon and there’s a familiar rumble in the depths of your tummy. Mm, breakfast time. But eat too much and you’ll be sorry, as that tummy rumble soon turns to tummy ache!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar must learn the perils of greediness too, and it makes for a wonderful book that all can relate too. Targeted at early years readers, it also introduces concepts like counting, days of the week as well as different kinds of foods. Plus, we love how some of the pages look like they have been ‘eaten’ through!
1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl (1964)
Nothing quite captures the awe-inspiring magic of food quite like this Dahl Masterpiece. Little Charlie Bucket lives a life of poverty, but that doesn’t stop him hoping and dreaming for more. So when he wins a sought after Golden Ticket to enter the famously secretive Chocolate Factory and meet the eccentric Mr Willy Wonka who own it, it seems his dreams for adventure may be realised after all.
A sweetie bag full of delights, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is packed FULL of imagination, wonder and all sorts of inspired yumminess. From everlasting gobstoppers to chocolate rivers, Dahl shows how food and creativity go hand-in-hand.
And that's it! Which are your favourites?
Love from Ruth and the Stir Krazy Team x