I'm literally surrounded by picture books relating to food, but it occurred to me a couple of days ago that some of the family favorites I've mentioned previously would have fit in with this theme perfectly! I really don't need any more books, but it is all about the weaving, isn't it?
With Dr. Seuss' birthday and Sandra Foyt's post about The Unknown Seuss waking me up from my dreamy world of picture books, I realized that I couldn't possibly continue this series without mentioning Green Eggs and Ham! Both of my children were obsessed with this book when they were learning to read.
Dr. Seuss makes reading and eating fun with this particular book. The whole concept of trying new things is an important life lesson, and one that adults often need to be reminded of as well. That's why I'm all for the reading of picture books at any and every age, whether they're by Dr. Seuss or another extraordinary author and/or illustrator. They make you think and feel good at the same time!
But really, the idea of bringing the magic out of the food we eat could be a revolutionary one for many picky eaters. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, why not fill it with something colorful?
While we don't necessarily have to encourage our youngest children to play with food, we can encourage them to use their imagination to help us transform food into something magical and utterly irresistible. And as the following picture books remind us, we only have to look as far as our five senses to do so.
A family favorite, Mary Ann Hoberman's The Seven Silly Eaters, starts out with one frustrated mother and 7 very picky eaters, but ends with children working together to create something wonderful, healthy, and delicious for the entire family to eat. They might make a mess in the process, but that's part of the magic and art of cooking, isn't it?
Oliver's Fruit Salad (Venture-Health & the Human Body), a follow-up to Vivian French's Oliver's Vegetables, reminds us that when we present food in a more appealing way, and involve children in the creation process, they're more likely to try foods they were previously resistant to.
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree, by Gail Gibbons, reminds us of the power of our connection with nature. As a boy watches a tree change throughout the seasons, he finds beauty and magic in the special tree and its apples. I love how the author builds upon so many themes within one resource.
You can extend an art/writing connection, as well as further discussion of trees and seasons, with Thomas Locker's A Tree for All Seasons. And of course, many connections can also be made with Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree as well.
If you have the time and energy to go a step further, you could bring in more of a science component, by taking a look at Incredible Edible Science: Recipes for Developing Science and Literacy Skills, by Liz Plaster and Rick Krustchinsky, and/or Incredible Edible Science (Scientific American Mysteries of Science) (for older elementary students), by Tina L. Seelig.
Do you have a special way of bringing out the magical side of food? Please feel free to build upon these ideas.