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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2003
My daughter is only 3, but she participates a lot in these recipies. Lots of fun.
The names they give the foods and the pictures also make children more willing to eat the food. If you have a picky eater he/she will surely eat the creations from this book.
I appreciate that they didnt use a lot of fancy ingreadiants or get too rediculous with cutting things into shapes etc. like many kid's recipie books
The hide-and-seek muffins are awsome! they taste like shortcake w/ the strawberry baked right in!
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 1998
What a find! Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson have compiled a delicious assortment of fun-to-make recipes for kids. My daughter was THRILLED to be able to make and serve Blueberry Pancakes for Sunday breakfast. The experience was a terrific boost for her. You could virtually see her self-esteem growing as she presented her culinary masterpiece to us. She also made chocolate-banana shakes for dessert last night. The recipes are so well illustrated that she is able (at 4 and a half years old) to verify that she has included all of the ingredients. She is eagerly anticipating her next cooking adventure. I tip my chef's hat to the authors for combining real food with recipes that are truly suited for kids. Does anyone know if the Culinary Institute of America offers scholarships? I think she's ready!
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 1997
"Pretend Soup" is thoughtfully written, beautifully illustrated, and a great introduction to cooking for small children. Each recipe has detailed instructions for the grown-up helper, followed by a two-page children's recipe -- step-by-step pictures and simple word instructions.
Unlike some other children's cookbooks, the recipes are all "real", healthful foods (Pretend Soup is a real recipe for a fruit salad in a yogurt/orange juice "soup").
This has become one of my standard gifts for the 4-6 year old birthday party circuit.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2003
This was my daughters response when she found the Zucchini moons recipe. She never ate them before, but now she knows tht salt is the secret! This book has a variety of recipes that kids (and adults) will enjoy...from Bagel faces to popovers to chocolate banana shakes...in easy to follow, kid and adult friendly format.
The recipes are vegetarian with an emphasis on health, they are not, however, vegan friendly.
Oh, and a tip on the oatmeal recipe...it's ready to eat sooner if you drop a frozen cube of milk in.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2007
Mollie Katzen is well known in the food world for her involvement with the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. She has been creating recipes and writing vegetarian cookbooks for adults for many years. However, until she witnessed her son's preschool class making applesauce one day, she didn't think her three-year-old would have an interest in preparing food.

When she talked to his teacher, Ann Henderson, she discovered that the class cooked weekly. Something clicked during this conversation and she remembered her "play cooking" as a child, with her mother's old bowls in the backyard.

Several years later, Mollie and Ann teamed up to write a cookbook for parents and their preschoolers to use to experience the fun of early cooking at home.

Because this unique cookbook is designed for both adults and preschoolers, it does not follow traditional cookbook layout. First, the recipe is written traditionally for the adults to go through. Next, the recipe is written in a pictorial version for the kids to use. The authors also give tips to make these more fun and safe for the children. Ideas such as colored tape on the handle of the butter (or plastic) knife to teach them which end to hold, and creating a cooking station at the kitchen table where it is safer for the kids to reach using an electric skillet. Each recipe is presented in a colorful way, with ideas on how to introduce young and picky eaters to try new foods.

Recipes such as popovers, green spaghetti, bagel faces and pretend soup are simple enough to not confuse young cooks, but complex enough to inspire their imaginations and leave them with good, healthy fun food to eat. Each of these recipes has been made and taste tested by Ann's preschoolers and the book is peppered with quotes from the kids on what they thought of the foods that they made.

I'm looking forward to spending some time with the preschoolers in my life and trying out some of the fun food recipes found inside this fun little cookbook.

Armchair Interviews says: Fun time in the kitchen!
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2000
This bright and engaging cookbook written and illustrated by Mollie Katzen will appeal to children of all ages, from the toddler dying to get his hands in the muffin batter to the 9-year-old just learning his way around the kitchen. Easy to follow illustrations demonstrate the recipes for the youngest "readers", while captivating cartoon characters liven the pages. Fun and delicious taste treats that were served to Mollie's panel of kiddie experts and passed the test! She's got the quotes to prove it. Adorable!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2002
Before buying this book, my 3-year-old daughter had pretty much refused any kind of vegetable. She just didn't want to put anything remotely vegetable-like in her mouth. She got so excited when she saw the Salad Bar recipe. We immediately set to work and lo and behold...she loves it! Now when I ask her what she wants for dinner, her reply is almost always, "Salad Bar!"
Whoo hoo! Thanks Mollie Katzen and Ann L. Henderson! You've performed a miracle.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2002
I am a mother of a 4 year old picky eater. My son would not touch any vegetables. Since purchasing the Pretend Soup, my son thinks it is a treat to read the cookbook at bedtime and decide what he wants to try the next day. The hind and seek muffins are his favorite. I am looking into buying the first book. Wonderful book, with GREAT pictures.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 30, 2009
I was curious about the title of this book so I picked it up and gave it a run through. I have children that are almost 4 years old and I come from a family that has had a long love affair with cooking and baking. That said, I found this book inspiring and encouraging when it comes to realizing that children as young as mine can really be involved in the actual cooking and baking process.

The book is really well made, and it comes with an assortment of simple recipes that are written in 2 ways: traditional directions for the adult to follow and simple directions created in picture form for the little ones not able to read yet. I thought it was a cute concept that includes the children in all facets of the cooking experience, from recipe to creation. But because there are two sets of directions for every ONE dish in this book, the book doesn't really have a lot of recipes. This book is more about layout than contents.

The recipes in this book are meant to be delicious AND nutritious (and inexpensive as a bonus), as most of them incorporate fruits and/or veggies, and they are all relatively simple to whip up, as this book wants caregivers and children to revel in the "experience" more than the dish itself.

As for the "experience," this book does a fine job of encouraging and suggesting ways (or things) that can make cooking in the kitchen a fun, educational, and enjoyable time for all. This is an actual COOKbook for preschoolers, too, as in some recipes need you to use heat to cook with, something you don't find too often for kids this age. In fact, most of these recipes are ideally meant for those who have an electric skillet, as this can allow the kids to feel like they are really cooking, and allows the adult more control over the hot surfaces. Of course, the recipes can be made from the stove and oven, but as I mentioned before, this cookbook encourages "experience" over everything else.

This cookbook also recommends that adults approach the cooking experience with preschoolers with lots of time, cleaning supplies, and patience, as children this age are very awkward and unsure of the process. Speaking with experience, I wholeheartedly agree. They give you some tips on how keep mess to a minimum, but you'd be suprised at what kids are capable of. :)

All in all, This is a great beginners guide to introduce cooking to little ones. It's perfect to open up and use on a slow, cold or rainy day.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2003
My six-year-old daughter is looking at her new cookbook as I write this and her response is, "This is cool!" She likes the pictures and that I can help HER cook rather than she helping me. Our family has all of Mollie Katzen's cookbooks, and this children's book is beautifully illustrated and well conceived. As a parent educator, Pretend Soup is going on my recommended reading list.
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