As a Youth Services Librarian I read a lot of books … specifically picture books. And honestly I am okay with that. Why? Because I absolutely love them. They’re chock full of laughs, have really sweet/touching moments, and often times feature beautiful artwork. And what I realized recently is that I really enjoy picture books about food. I find them to be so, so funny.
I can’t be the only one who enjoys a good picture book about food, right?! So with that sentiment in mind, I decided to put together a themed booklist. And the theme is …
This themed booklist contains books featuring food as a main character or a main plot point. Basically, if food is involved, it’s on this list!
Sweet Tooth by Margie Palatini
“Lots of kids have a sweet tooth. But not like Stewart’s. His very loud sweet tooth wants what it wants, when it wants it…and lets everyone know about it.
Stewart’s sweet tooth screams for cake at weddings, for candy during class, and torments him at the movies. Stewart has had enough, and he’s bringing out the big guns — a carrot.
Can he stand up to the most annoying sweet tooth in history?”
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
“If food dropped like rain from the sky, wouldn’t it be marvelous! Or would it? It could, after all, be messy. And you’d have no choice. What if you didn’t like what fell? Or what if too much came? Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be squashed flat by a pancake?”
Dragon Loves Tacos by Adam Rubin
“This scrumptious New York Times bestseller has a whole lot of kick!
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.[…]”
Little Pea by Amy Krause Rosenthal
“If Little Pea doesn’t eat all of his sweets, there will be no vegetables for dessert! What’s a young pea to do? Children who have trouble swallowing their veggies will love the way this pea-size picture book serves up a playful story they can relate to.”
Jampires by Sarah McIntyre
“A delightful, whimsical, JAM-tastic adventure!
The jam has been sucked out of Sam’s doughnuts! Who are the culprits? Sam sets a trap to catch the jam thieves and gets a surprise! It’s the Jampires: friendly little creatures whose love of jam and sweet things gets them into trouble! They fly off with Sam to their magical land sitting in the clouds, where doughnuts grow on trees, jam tarts sprout like flowers, and castles are made of jammy sponge cake.”
Too Pickley by Jen Reidy
“Too wrinkly, too squishy, too fruity, too fishy!
It’s time to eat, but somebody doesn’t like a single item on his plate. What’s a picky eater to do?
This romping text and stylishly bold art make for a delectable board book. Parents (and the picky eaters they love) will recognize themselves in the hilarious antics played out here, while the ending brings reassurance-and with a little luck, a clean plate.”
Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border
“What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!
And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.
In a story that pairs silliness with poignancy, and friendship with anthropomorphic food, Terry Border, the photography mastermind behind the Bent Objects project, makes a triumphant entrance into the children’s book world. Complete with a rhyming refrain, this is sure to be a favorite family read-aloud–and laugh-aloud. […]”
Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson
” “When springtime comes, in his warm winter den, a bear wakes up, very hungry and thin!…”
Bear finds some roots to eat, but that’s not enough. He wants more! With his friends’ help, he finds some berries, clover, and fish to eat, but that’s not enough. Bear wants more! How Bear’s friends help him to finally satisfy his HUGE hunger in a most surprising way will enchant young readers. Karma Wilson’s rhythmic text and Jane Chapman’s vibrant illustrations make Bear Wants More a perfect springtime read-aloud.”
As an added bonus, I decided to dig a little deeper and feature, not only picture books, but also books for middle grade and teens.
For the middle grade set …
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
“When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, 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. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new friends–the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of feeling like an outsider in his aunts’ house, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away–and the adventure begins!
Roald Dahl’s first and most widely celebrated book for young people continues to thrill readers around the world. […]”
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
“Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as the “Taco Queen” at school. But just when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion. ”
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
“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!”
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
“Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?”
For the teen set …
Hungry by H.A. Swain
“In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.
In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that’s what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.
H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.”
The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler
“[…]When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny?s life isn?t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn?t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there?s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily. There are also bright spots in Hog?s Hollow?like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life?s unexpected turns.”
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
“Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.”
(All of the book summaries are from GoodReads)