Monday, 24 December 2018

A feast of food! by the Picture Book Den

To celebrate the festivities, here's our choice of picture books that involve food, served with Seasons' Greetings from all of us at the Picture Book Den and wishing a very Happy New Year to all!

Jane Clarke

The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be used to talk about metamorphosis, and about greed, of course -  but at this time of year - wouldn’t it be great to eat everything you want, and turn into something exquisitely beautiful?!

Lucy Rowland

I loved this book when I was little!  The hungry cat eats one fish. The hungry cat eats two potatoes. The hungry cat eats three tomatoes...all the way up to ...The hungry cat eats ten watermelons!  At this point, rather unsurprisingly, the hungry cat feels sick! So....'Up come the ten watermelons! Up come the nine pizzas!.....all the way back down to 'Up comes the one fish!' and the hungry cat says....'Now I'm hungry again!'  
I'm not sure I ever learnt much about portion control from this book but I loved it all the same.  There is even an embarrassing video of me reading it to my little sister somewhere. 

Chitra Soundar

My choice of book to read this festive season, is from China. Although it's a bit early for Chinese New Year, it's a great story that's told in many cultures from Europe to Africa to Asia. It evokes memories of festivities, colour and feasts. Enjoy the holiday season! Written by Ying Chang Compestine, it's beautifully illustrated by Sebastia Serra. 

I nominate Shirley Hughes' 'Alfie's Christmas'. Because it shows the cosy chaotic sort of Christmas I am familiar with. 

Image result for alfie's christmas image

And it is the preparing of the food that is at least as much fun as the eating of it. Look at Dad and Alfie mixing what it tells them to in a recipe book, and then carefully cutting out Christmas tree shapes that we just know are going to be iced with silver baubles stuck on like Christmas tree lights. See Mum doing the messy job of stuffing the turkey whilst the cat looks on with longing!

Natascha Biebow

This book makes me smile every time. I came across it accidentally at the library and was so enamoured by Sid, a clever cat who manages to scoff down six delicious dinners in one day! More that this, though, I love the sense of community in the story. In this second adventure, when the six families on his street all decide to go on holiday at the same time, who will feed Sid? A cattery would not accommodate six dinners! So, Sid goes on the train to the Scottish Highlands, where the families have rented six cabins. He soon feels right at home - and, after an exciting day exploring and meeting the local wildlife, Sid is happy he has six or maybe even seven dinners to come home to! Sid's first adventure, Six Dinner Sid was a Smarties Award winner and features in the Daily Telegraph's top 50 children's books of all time. 

Garry Parsons

I've chosen "The Tea Party in the Woods" by Akiko Miyakoshi.

On a winter's day, Kikko rushes out of the house into the snow to chase after her father who has forgotten a pie he was meant to deliver to her grandmother. In her haste to follow him through the woods, Kikko stumbles and accidentally crushes Grandma's pie and then, by some strange circumstance, ends up being a guest in a house full of clothed animals. 

The spread that really excites me is the tea party at the long table with Kikko sitting at the head of the table looking a little shocked by the company. I love the mysterious feel of this book and the raw quality of the drawing.

The animals then contribute slices from various flans and tarts at the table to replace the pie that got ruined and Kikko continues on her way to Grandma.

This is definitely a feast I'd like to be a guest at!

Jonathan Emmett

My favourite food-themed picture book is In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. 

There are many picture books about dreams but, for me, this is the only one that come close to capturing the surreal, irrational, incongruous quality of a genuine dream – and it's beautifully illustrated to boot!

After being awoken by a mysterious noise in the night, Mickey falls through his bedroom floor into The Night Kitchen, a city-like landscape make up of giant packets, cartons and bottles.

There he meets three bakers (all of whom look like Oliver Hardy) who, with authentic dream-like logic, mistake Mickey for milk and proceed to mix him into the enormous cake they are baking.

Mickey eventually saves the day, the cake and himself by fashioning an aeroplane out of cake batter (I told you this was a surreal book) and flying off to fetch some actual milk.

Paeony Lewis

This time I simply can't resist including one of my old books, No More Biscuits! In the story, Florence eats all the biscuits, though she says Arnold ate some too (he's a toy monkey, but as we know, soft toys often get the blame for things). 

No More Biscuits! (No More Cookies! in the US)
by Paeony Lewis, illustrations Brita Granstrom
Florence tries to persuade Mum to give her just one more biscuit, but Mum is holding strong. It's a battle of wills, as used to happen in our house. 

The story ends with a compromise and they all make delicious 'Magic Monkey Bananas'. If only world problems could be solved with frozen bananas covered in chocolate and sprinkles. Wishing everyone a peaceful and joyous 2019.


Lauri Fortino said...

Happy Holidays Picture Book Den!

Jane Clarke said...

Thank you, Lauri!