From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3–In this charming offering, Katzen follows the format and emphases of Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes (Tricycle, 1994) to present 20 new kid-tested concoctions. Not a hot dog, tub of frosting, or package of Kool-Aid is to be found among these dishes; this is real food, the nutritious and delicious kind–low fat, low sugar, and meatless. The first recipe encourages kids to be creative and make their own miniature Salad People out of cheese, fruit, vegetables, and pasta. Tiny Tacos are tortilla chip sandwiches of refried beans, guacamole, salsa, and grated cheese. Focaccia starts with store-bought pizza dough that is painted with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary, and baked. Chewy Energy Circles are a nutritious alternative to expensive power bars. Each tasty treat is presented in an easy-to-use, three-part format. First, an introductory section for grown-ups describes the end product and outlines tips to help children achieve success. Next, ingredients and directions are provided. Finally, a colorful spread combines simple language with clear illustrations to clarify each step. Safety tips and an essay discussing the benefits of this activity for children are included. Throughout, the writing is clear and encouraging, empowering novice chefs to discover new skills and tastes as they explore this rewarding endeavor. A winner!–Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
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*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2, with parental guidance. What's the best way to encourage kids to eat healthy food? Give them "the opportunity to prepare it with their own hands," says Katzen, whose many cookbooks include the original Moosewood titles. As in Pretend Soup (1994), her previous cookbook "for preschoolers and up," Katzen offers a range of vegetarian, kid-friendly recipes in an artistic, innovative format. Each recipe receives two spreads. The first contains detailed, step-by-step instructions for adults; the second, directed to children, illustrates stages of preparation in a series of clear, boxed drawings. Katzen's whimsical color pictures of dancing produce and animals decorate the pages, and many readers may find that recipes such as Chewy Energy Circles will become family staples. All recipes in the book have been "preschool tested," and Katzen gives parents plenty of tips on preparing a safe, nurturing cooking space for kids and communicating concepts such as "washing your hands with flour" before handling sticky dough. These detailed, practical, and inspired ideas may extend far beyond the kitchen, helping adults approach parenting in new ways and helping kids develop a lifelong interest and confidence in healthy food. For food-related picture books, see the Read-alikes "Kids in the Kitchen" in the October 15 issue. Gillian Engberg
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