Best Books for Cooks

Today is National Cooking Day! We here at Tundra Book Group + Friends love books about food – here are some of our fave options for budding foodies (and readers!)!

Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster
By Rachelle Delaney
256 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735269279 | Puffin Canada
Alice Fleck’s father is a culinary historian, and for as long as she can remember, she’s been helping him recreate meals from the past – a hobby she prefers to keep secret from kids her age. But when her father’s new girlfriend enters them into a cooking competition at a Victorian festival, Alice finds herself and her hobby thrust into the spotlight. And that’s just the first of many surprises awaiting her. On arriving at the festival, Alice learns that she and her father are actually contestants on Culinary Combat, a new reality TV show hosted by Tom Truffleman, the most famous and fierce judge on TV! And to make matters worse, she begins to suspect that someone is at work behind the scenes, sabotaging the competition. It’s up to Alice, with the help of a few new friends, to find the saboteur before the entire competition is ruined, all the while tackling some of the hardest cooking challenges of her life . . . for the whole world to see.

Every Cake Has a Story
By Christina Tosi
Illustrated by Emily Balsley
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110683 | Dial Books
Everything in Samesville is exactly the same, from the people and their clothes to the houses and their doors. So one night before going to bed, Sammi tucks a recipe card under her pillow and wishes that things were not the same. And when she wakes up, that white, black, gray sameness is gone, replaced with things that are bolder and brighter and wilder than ever before! With her newly colorful world and a new recipe book, she gathers her friends and makes the most magical cake, beautiful and different – just like Sammi and her friends. Things will never be the same again.

Frankie’s Favorite Food
By Kelsey Garrity-Riley
36 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264311 | Tundra Books
Frankie has a problem: he has too many favorite foods. He can’t bring himself to choose just one to be for the school play, so on the day of the performance, he’s still without a costume. His teacher comes up with a delicious idea: what if Frankie becomes the Costume Manager? That way, he can parlay his love of all things culinary into the whole production. From adding some last-minute garnishes to helping the rice and beans into their costumes, Frankie shines backstage until he has a brilliant idea and decides to make his debut on the menu as something that combines his love for all his favorite foods . . . In this funny and scrumptiously adorable story, readers will delight in the variety of foods represented and the clever performances full of silly word play and sweet camaraderie. In Kelsey Garrity-Riley’s author-illustrator debut, she shows the joy of food and revels in celebrating the way food can bring people together and inspire creativity.

Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast
By David Ezra Stein
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207781 | Candlewick
It’s bright and early on a Saturday morning, and the little red chicken wants cookies for breakfast. What better way to persuade Papa than by jarring him awake and gleefully interjecting cookies – and herself! – into every nursery rhyme they read together? Though the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe heartily endorses the little red chicken’s plan, Papa has his own idea for a sweet breakfast for his determined daughter. Featuring the same riotous charm and bright, bold art as Interrupting Chicken and Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise, David Ezra Stein’s third installment will have any fan with a sweet tooth and a love of meta rhyme clamoring to find out: will the early bird get the cookie?

It Happened on Sweet StreetIt Happened on Sweet Street
By Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
44 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101918852 | Tundra Books
Cakes, cookies or pie? A rivalry among local bakers is the basis for this deliciously sweet, off-the-wall picture book. Monsieur Oliphant’s cake shop, the only bakery game in town, has long had customers lining up outside its door for Oliphant’s delicious jelly rolls and marvelous wedding cakes . . . until the day cookie concocter Mademoiselle Fée takes over the old shoemaker’s shop. And it isn’t long before the divine piemaker Madame Clotilde soon moves into the old bric-a-brac shop. Three different bakers all trying to outclass one another means their little cul-de-sac is packed with customers every day and night, so, one morning, when everyone is bumpling and jostling each other with their cakes, cookies and pies, a food disaster – a massacre of cream, a devastation of crumbs – is inevitable! Only one little girl has the drive (or appetite?) to find a solution, but can it last? This madcap tale of frenzied cooks and zany eats (and one very lucky town) will delight readers with a sweet tooth of any age!

Julia, Child
By Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735264014 | Tundra Books
Julia and Simca are two young friends who agree that you can never use too much butter – and that it is best to be a child forever. Sharing a love of cooking and having no wish to turn into big, busy people who worry too much and dawdle too little, they decide to create a feast for growing and staying young. A playful, scrumptious celebration of the joy of eating, the importance of never completely growing up and mastering the art of having a good time, Julia, Child is a fictional tale loosely inspired by the life and spirit of the very real Julia Child – a story that should be taken with a grain of salt and a generous pat of butter.

Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids
By Dr. Kate Biberdorf
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593116197 | Philomel Books
Did you know that all cooking is really chemistry? And that chocolate chip cookies will look – and taste – completely different if you swap out baking powder for baking soda? Or swap out brown sugar for white sugar? In this cookbook packed with 25 edible science experiment recipes kids can do in their own kitchen, chemistry professor and science entertainer Kate the Chemist introduces young scientists to the fascinating world of STEM – and cooking! Each recipe includes step-by-step instructions, an ingredients list, full-color photographs, a messiness factor rating, and a note from Kate explaining the science behind each delicious treat.

Let’s Taco Bout How Great You Are
By Bob Holt
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593182017 | Doubleday BFYR
Advice, pep-talks, smiles, and silly puns aplenty are DISHED out (see what I did there?) in this bright, festive gift book that celebrates the reader on every page. Perfect for graduation, birthdays, or any big milestones in a kid’s life, here is a picture book that tells your young superstar that you are hap-PEA to know them and they can’t be BEET. So LETTUCE all yell, “Yay, you!”

Lunch Lady #1: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
By Jarrett J. Krosoczka
96 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375846830 | Knopf BFYR
Serving justice . . . and lunch! Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes – she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

McTavish Takes the Cake
By Meg Rosoff
Illustrated by Grace Easton
96 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536213751 | Candlewick
Pa Peachey has gotten it in his head that he is going to be the baker in the family, and the Peacheys and their dog, McTavish, are more than a little surprised. Stunned, in fact. Ever since Ma Peachey declared herself free of the cooking responsibilities, Betty, Ava, and Ollie have taken turns making inventive and delicious meals. But Pa thinks he can do better, even though his cakes are as flat as manhole covers and his cookies turn to charcoal. When the town announces a baking competition with a big prize, Pa is convinced he will enter an absolute masterpiece. Now the Peacheys have to decide: should they be honest with Pa and tell him his confections are contemptible, or should they support his high-flying dreams? Or could McTavish have a last-minute option at the ready?

Monster Food
By Daisy Hirst
18 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9781536217742 | Candlewick
What do little monsters like to eat? Daisy Hirst infuses a bright, funny board book with her offbeat charm. Some monsters eat peaches. Some monsters eat pears. And then there are monsters who eat only chairs. Some monsters like noodles and some prefer stew, but there’s always that one you’ll see eating a shoe, or . . . a rake? Picky little eaters, adventurous eaters, and born jokesters alike will see themselves in this comedy of cuisine, perfectly suited for the youngest (and hungriest) of listeners.

Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea!
By Linda Ashman
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536204834 | Candlewick
To Abby, her friend Phoebe can do no wrong. Phoebe is speedy. Phoebe is smart. She’s equally brilliant at science and art. So when the budding hostess invites Phoebe over for a tea party, everything from the sugary treats on the menu to Abby’s dog, Louie, must be, well . . . perfect. But when life – and possibly Louie – send a clear message to let loose, the girls indulge in a perfectly imperfect playdate. Linda Ashman’s vivacious rhyme and Alea Marley’s inviting illustrations serve up a classic tale of enduring friendship at a tea party that will leave readers wanting to pull up a chair.

Phoebe G. Green #1: Lunch Will Never Be the Same!
By Veera Hiranandani
Illustrated by Christine Almeda
128 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593096895 | Penguin Workshop
Phoebe loves her pet fish, Betty #2 (named after Betty #1, may she rest in peace), making lists, and her best friend Sage. But when Camille, a tall French girl, arrives at school with unusual lunches, Phoebe can’t seem to think about anything else, including her friendship with Sage. Thanks to Camille, Phoebe discovers goat cheese, butter lettuce, and cilantro (although she’s convinced that’s not a real word). She’s determined to get invited to her new friend’s house for dinner to see what other mysterious food Camille eats. But what about Sage? Can Phoebe make a new friend and keep an old one?

There’s a Dodo on the Wedding Cake
By Wade Bradford
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536208849 | Candlewick
For his return visit to the wacky Sharemore Hotel, Mr. Snore will be playing his violin at a fancy wedding. As he waits for his cue to join the ceremony, he admires the wedding cake . . . and notices that he’s not alone in ogling that tower of frothy perfection. Is that a dodo, eating one of the frosting roses? As more and more creatures enter the scene – including two beavers, a boa constrictor, and a bunch of bats – it’s hard to tell who’s a guest and who’s a pest. But Mr. Snore, rushing the cake trolley from room to room, is going to do his heroic best to save that prize from sure disaster. From author and playwright Wade Bradford and award-winning illustrator Kevin Hawkes comes a madcap encore to There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor, starring the ever-proper Mr. Snore.

Tomatoes for Neela
By Padma Lakshmi
Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593202708 | Viking BFYR
Neela loves cooking with her amma and writing down the recipes in her notebook. It makes her feel closer to her paati who lives far away in India. On Saturdays, Neela and Amma go to the green market and today they are buying tomatoes to make Paati’s famous sauce. But first, Neela needs to learn about all the different kinds of tomatoes they can pick from. And as Neela and Amma cook together, they find a way for Paati to share in both the love and the flavors of the day. Bestselling author and host of Bravo’s Top Chef and Hulu’s Taste the Nation Padma Lakshmi takes young readers on an intergenerational journey full of delicious flavors and fun food facts that celebrates a family’s treasured recipes.

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